Samsung took credit for arranging the picture that Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz posed for Tuesday at the White House with President Barack Obama, stating that it “was an honor to help him capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement.”
But Ortiz is now denying that Samsung had anything to do with it — other than providing him the phone on which he captured and tweeted the now-famous photograph.
“It was right at the moment when I gave him the jersey and he asked to take a picture now or whatever, so I said, ‘Oh, wait a minute, let’s see if I can get away with one.'” Ortiz told WEEI.com on Wednesday. “It wasn’t promotional or anything like that. Who knows you’re going to be able to take a picture with the President, a selfie? How many people can guarantee that? It’s something you don’t even have to talk about. … I signed a deal with Samsung a couple of months ago and they supply me with phones and all that stuff. The photo with the President was once in a lifetime moment. How did I know he would let me take a picture with him.”
So it’s more like Samsung tried to slip in and grab some brand attention after a cool, genuine moment.
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.