Your tax dollars at work

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There are ways in which public money is used to benefit baseball that are far more egregious than this — say, in the billions of tax dollars used to give shiny new ballparks to billionaire owners — but this is at least cranky-letter-to-the-editor-worthy, isn’t it?

Hamels threw 82 pitches last Thursday and when he was told his wife had gone into labor, he left the ballpark in the front seat of a police car.

“Best cop ride I had ever been a part of when I wasn’t in the back,” he said. “That was pretty exciting on the streets of Philadelphia.”

“Ma’am, I apologize, but we’ll have a patrol car to your location to investigate those gunshots as soon as we can; at the moment our closest officer is busy driving Philadelphia’s fair-haired boy to a private hospital for the birth of son who will never, ever have to live in a high-crime area.”

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.