Lots of hand wringing when Astros’ center fielder Jordan Schafer was arrested with marijuana a couple of months ago. However, Courtland Milloy’s column in the Washington Post — passing along the results of a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine — may show that it wasn’t all bad, man:
“Athletes under the influence of cannabis indicate that their thoughts flow more easily and their decision making and creativity is enhanced,” the researchers wrote. “Health professionals have encountered athletes including gymnasts, divers, football players and basketball players who claim smoking cannabis before play helps them focus better.”
But, they concluded, “Much additional research is needed to determine the effects of cannabis on athletic performance.”
Personally, I’d still keep marijuana banned for pro athletes. Not because of the drug itself. It’s way less harmful than alcohol and tobacco and we have no problem with ballplayers using that stuff. Rather, I’d ban it because it leads to stuff like increased Taco Bell consumption and late nights watching “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” and that stuff is just horrible for one’s conditioning.
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.