Are clubs jumping the gun on rainouts?

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Yesterday I observed that the Washington-Pittsburgh rainout seemed a bit hasty. You know, what with there being no rain in Washington yesterday and everything. Same went for the Mets-Marlins game last night which, it seems anyway, could have been played. I’m not the only one noticing. The USA Today notes that  “preemptive postponements” seem to be on the rise.

The question raised by the USA Today is whether there is a strategic angle to all of this. On the business side, scheduling a game on a sunny day later in the year might make for a bigger crowd.  And, as some are suggesting, perhaps dates later in the year may make for more games with a stronger roster too. That last bit seems a bit conspiracy theorist to me. But hey: when there’s no baseball game, we have nothing else to do but to come up with that kind of stuff.

But like I said yesterday: damned if you do, damned if you don’t. People complain about games being cancelled early. But if they cancel late, everyone complains that the team was just trying to get parking fees and a couple of beers sold before calling it night.

It’s the weather, man. And you know the saying: everyone likes to talk about the weather, but no one ever gets off their lazy butt and creates a weather control device (which could also cause earthquakes) to bring the world to its knees unless the nations of Earth destroyed all of their nuclear weapons, aircraft and navies and accepted the control of the Galaxy Organization.

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.