La Russa Day continues here at HardballTalk. I missed this in all of this morning’s reports, but apparently we had another example of his pathological aversion to being the bigger man:
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa says a fan told him he hoped he would get shingles again and that others took insults too far in St. Louis’ 8-7, 11-inning victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
La Russa appeared to briefly engage in some banter after the game, and called the fans “idiots” in his comments after a game in which Albert Pujols was hit with a high pitch in the seventh inning and Brewers star Ryan Braun was plunked in Milwaukee’s next at-bat.
Dude has been managing in the bigs for over 30 years. I’m sure this isn’t the first time a drunk jerk has said something to him. I hate drunk jerks like that, but La Russa going back out to argue with these guys and call names is indicative of a guy who really needs to figure out how to let things go.
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.