Mariano Rivera’s farewell tour continues to be pretty cool. Last night he played Pizza Claus in Oakland:
Posing as a pizza delivery man, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera surprised longtime Athletics employee Julie Vasconcellos by visiting her in the mail room where she has worked going on 25 years. Rivera carried in a pizza box Wednesday night and brought Vasconcellos to tears as he thanked her for 2 1/2 decades of hard work behind the scenes.
Having seen “Moneyball” I am led to believe that no one gets free sodas at the Coliseum so I’m guessing Vasconcellos has never gotten a free pizza at work in her life.
In other news, Rivera is totally ruining the farewell tour thing for those stars who have come to expect that they’ll get gifts at every stop.
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.