AP Photo/John Amis

Bryce Harper wore a hat that read “Make Baseball Fun Again” after Monday’s game

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Update (9:12 PM EST):  Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post put up a picture:

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The Nationals beat the Braves 4-3 at Turner Field in Monday’s Opening Day contest. Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and a solo home run, picking up right where he left off.

Harper made waves last month when ESPN ran a feature in their magazine about him. In that feature, Harper was quoted as saying, “Baseball is a tired sport because you can’t express yourself.” He was referring to young players such as himself, Jose Fernandez, and Yasiel Puig who have received criticism for the way they play the game. Harper has also been subject to violence twice in his brief playing career, as Cole Hamels intentionally threw a baseball at him and teammate Jonathan Papelbon choked him in the Nats’ dugout near the end of the regular season last year. Both Hamels and Papelbon defended themselves, more or less saying that they were trying to teach the young Harper the right way to play the game.

Harper’s comments were the main topic of conversation for a while after that piece in ESPN ran. Giants reliever Sergio Romo even told Harper to “shut up“.

Taking the whole situation in good humor, Harper wore a trucker hat that read “Make Baseball Fun Again” after Monday’s game as he prepared to speak to the media, CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chase Hughes reports. That ostensibly references Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again.”

It’s good to see that Harper hasn’t been weighed down by the whole situation and is able to have a good sense of humor about it.

White Sox sign José Abreu to a three-year contract extension

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Yesterday the Chicago White Sox made a big signing of a new player, locking up catcher Yasmani Grandal for four years. Today they’ve made another big splash, re-signed current White Sox star José Abreu to a three-year, $50 million contract extension.

Abreu had already accepted the team’s qualifying offer last week so he was ensured of staying in Chicago for 2020, but now they’ll tear that up and replace it with this pact, adding two more years.

Abreu, who turns 33 before spring training, is coming off a 2019 season in which he posted a line of .284/.330/.503 with 33 home runs and 123 RBI. He has spent his entire major league career in Chicago, putting up a line of .293/.349/.513 and socking 179 homers in six seasons.