Why, this is improbable. Reds fan Caleb Lloyd caught two home run balls last night. On back-to-back homers:
The 20-year-old junior from Thomas More College was in left field when Reds pitcher Mike Leake hit his first career homer in the fourth inning. The ball went directly to Lloyd, who had never caught a ball at a game.
“It hit my hand,” he said. “I didn’t expect to actually catch it. I never actually caught a home run ball. It hurt really bad.”
Three pitches later, shortstop Zack Cozart hit another one to the same area. The ball bounced right to Lloyd, who had one free hand.
Here’s the video.
Coolest thing: he gave both the balls away. One to Leake, because it was his first career homer. The other to his buddy who gave him the tickets. Strong moves, both. It’s not like he’s going to forget the experience. The balls themselves are just … balls.
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.