Was Bryce Harper just … kissing back?

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The plot — which was already kind of thin to begin with, even if it was fun — has thickened. CSN Washington reports that it’s possible that when Bryce Harper blew that kiss at the pitcher the other day, he was merely returning the favor from an earlier incident. As reported first by the Hagerstown Herald-Mail:

“Monday’s drama started in the first inning when Neal struck out Harper on a borderline call Harper didn’t care for to end the first inning. Some observers said Tuesday that the groundwork for the incident started there, with Neal sending a kiss in Harper’s direction after the whiff.”

In other words, this whole affair may be less about the unwritten rules and professional deportment than it is about the hot, simmering desire between Harper and the opposing pitchers of the Sally League.  Which frankly, is a way better story if you ask me.

Now, let us relive the passion:

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Minor League Baseball eclipses 40 million in attendance for 14th consecutive season

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Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.

ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:

Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”

Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.