“Escape 4 the Game”

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This is the trailer for what could prove to be a fantastic documentary about a group of Cuban baseball players — including Yunel Escobar — who risked their lives to come to the United States:

The description at the film’s fundraising page:

The story is told through the eyes of Tampa Bay Rays shortstop, Yunel Escobar, with supporting commentary from his childhood friends who joined them on the journey. After a twelve-day plight that included going into hiding and having no contact with the outside world, swimming across crocodile-infested waters, and sailing into the dark of night with only one working motor, the men were only half-way there. A story of courage, strength, and perseverance, Escape 4 the Game will take you on a voyage so many make, yet few survive.

It’s just astounding how much people risk to leave Cuba. And it speaks loudly about the freedoms we have. People risk their lives every day for what we so often take for granted. Mind-blowing.

Probably worth remembering the next time the sports media and fandom start to get on a Cuban ballplayer for allegedly not “respecting the game.” Bah. They’ve known worse than most of us ever will. Maybe now they’re just enjoying themselves doing something that they risked everything to do.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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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.