Already tired of your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers dropping “That’s a clown question, bro” references over the past week? Well, this might not be the story for you.
According to Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com, Bryce Harper told Comcast SportsNet’s Kelli Johnson before tonight’s game against the Rays that Under Armour, with whom he has an endorsement deal, will begin selling official t-shirts with the phrase that quickly became a viral sensation.
Sarah Kogod of the Washington Post did a bit more digging via the U.S. Patent and Trademark database and found that one day after Harper made the quote in Toronto, someone on his behalf applied to trademark the phrase for “wearing apparel, namely, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts, hats, visors, gloves, shoes.” That’s pretty smart business, even though we’ll probably see all of these items on discount racks a few months from now.
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.