“That home run right there, it couldn’t have come at a better time. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy.”
That was center fielder Austin Jackson commenting on Jhonny Peralta’s huge three-run blast in Tuesday’s Game 4. The game-tying homer was his first in the six games since he returned from a 50-game PED suspension, and it played a big role in the Tigers’ 8-6 win.
Tigers fans were obviously in agreement with Peralta. Not only did they cheer wildly for the homer, which was to be expected, but they gave Peralta another huge hand as he took his position in left field the following inning.
They weren’t just cheering for the event, they were cheering for the cheater, too.
Which we’ve learned is pretty typical of fans. They talk big about steroid users until encountered with one playing for their team. Obviously, it’s true of some players as well.
It couldn’t have happened to a better guy? Really?
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.