“No one made me laugh like Mike Flanagan. Tonight, he made me cry”

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As a ballplayer, Mike Flanagan was more of a fuzzy memory to me than a lot of guys of his era and stature. I should have more vivid memories of him pitching for the early 80s Orioles, back when I used to watch Tigers games all the time, but I don’t. I remember Jim Palmer more because he was a bigger name. I even remember Scott McGregor more for some reason. Flanagan was more a name and a baseball card to me.

And that makes me sad today, as I’m reading all of the remembrances of him as both a pitcher and a character.  Buster Oleny and Tim Kurkjian each have good ones. Each worth your time for the anecdotes and the obvious affection they had for him.  Kurkjian’s is funny and touching, ending with “No one made me laugh like Mike Flanagan. Tonight, he made me cry.”

Reports are that Flanagan committed suicide.  How awful it would be if we found out that all of that wry humor about which many of us are first learning was really there to mask pain.

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.