Bryce Harper torn between All-Star Game and vacation

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Bryce Harper’s chances of going to next week’s All-Star Game got a lot better when fellow Final Vote candidate Chipper Jones was named to the team today. Still, he wouldn’t mind missing out and going home to Nevada for a few days.

“I’m excited to go home,” he told the Washington Post. “If I don’t make the team, I think it’d be good for me to go home, get away from the world and be Bryce, be normal, just hang out with the family and get some good home-cooked meals and hit with my pop and just hang out.”

One imagines Harper is thinking about Swag. No, not all of the All-Star goodies he’d miss out on, but the puppy his parents gave him for Christmas that’s still at home in Nevada.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson also said he wouldn’t mind seeing Harper miss out on the game, partly because the 19-year-old has been nursing a sore back. Johnson added that he hasn’t gone to MLB.com to vote for Harper.

“I go online for a lot of things and that’s not one of them,” he said.

The Red Sox AL East championship banner fell off a truck and is being held hostage

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The Red Sox haven’t won the AL East just yet. They will. For them not to, they’ll have to lose the rest of their games while the Yankees win the rest of theirs. It’s just a matter of time.

Knowing this, the club can plan some things in advance. The can begin postseason ticket sales, for example. They can decide what sort of festivities they will undertake for the first game of the ALDS that is guaranteed to begin at Fenway Park. They also, of course, can raise a banner for the division championship.

There’s only one problem with that: the banner, already printed up, fell off the dang truck that was delivering it and is being held hostage by a guy named Louie Iacuzzi from Malden. From the Boston Globe:

Iacuzzi said Wednesday by phone that he and his buddies spotted an object wrapped up on McGrath Highway in Somerville Monday morning. So he pulled over and crossed multiple lanes of busy traffic to retrieve it. Inside was a massive banner that read “ ‘2018 American League East Champions’; it’s the banner,” Iacuzzi said.

One can presume that Iacuzzi is a big Sox fan so he’s willing to do the right thing without hesitation, right? Well . . . kinda:

“We want to return it, we’re trying to do the right thing, but I’m not just going to hand it to them, know what I mean?” Iacuzzi said.

Asked if he wanted cash from the Red Sox, he said, “Yes, financial [compensation], maybe some tickets, we want something. We don’t know what we want. We want to return it, 100 percent, but we would like to get something.”

Iacuzzi didn’t have a specific asking price in mind as of Wednesday morning.

“We want to find out what the thing’s worth,” he said. “We don’t know.”

You have to click through to the Globe story to check out Iacuzzi and his friends. You also have to hear what his dad told him to do with the banner. Frankly, his dad sounds like my dad, and I’m not entirely sure that’s a compliment to anyone involved.

What’ll the Red Sox clinch first? The AL East or the return of their property? And will the movie version of this be more like “The Town,” “Celtic Pride” or “The Friends of Eddie Coyle?”

UPDATE: Oh man, there’s video: