Ump misses the tag in the Rays-Twins game

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Another bad call in a year full of them. This one came in the 10th inning of the Rays-Twins game last night.

The scene: runners on first and second, Rays batting, no one out, game tied at 4. Willy Aybar singles to left and the go-ahead run scores. As the play continues, Kelly Shoppach, who
had been on first, tried to advance
to third.

Delmon Young throws it to Michael Cuddyer at third (query: you happy with Michael Cuddyer playing third, Twins fans? I wouldn’t be). Cuddyer catches it and applies the tag to Shoppach.  Watch the video: the overhead shot is fast, but the replay (and the screencap pic above) seems to show the tag, with Shoppach’s jersey even creasing a little and everything. Third base umpire Alfonso Marquez calls Shoppach safe, however, saying that Cuddy missed the tag.

It ended up not mattering — the run would have scored anyway and 5-4 ended up being the final score — but a missed call is a missed call, and we get a lot of those these days.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
Getty Images
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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.