BRADENTON — I thought the day was going to go better than this. I woke up and, magically, the R key on my keyboard was working again and all was right with the world. Then I saw this:
That little marker is where I’m sitting in McKechnie Field right now and that stuff to the left is a baseball game-banging storm.
Which, in case you don’t follow a lot of baseball writers on Twitter or if you’ve never been in a press box, is a term you don’t hear very often. “Bang.” As in “looks like rain, are they going to bang this game?” and “Just heard, they’re banging this one. They’ll make it up with a doubleheader tomorrow.” It’s one of my favorite things because, again, I am 12 years-old. It really stinks that a big storm is coming and that we likely won’t have baseball today, but I’ve gotten to say “bang” about 20 times in the past half hour and that’s almost worth it.
I’ll do a post later with the few photos and thoughts about this place I gathered before the deluge, but it looks like my afternoon is going to be more about booking down to Ft. Myers for tomorrow’s Red Sox game than it is about baseball today. Oh well.
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.