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Bryce Harper says heckling Nationals fans crossed a line

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The Phillies and Nationals just kicked off the finale of their five-game series in Washington, with the Nationals looking for the series sweep. That will put the finishing touches on a season series in which the Nationals have thoroughly dismantled the Phillies, winning 13 of 18 games entering Thursday’s action.

The season series, of course, had intrigue beyond the division rivalry. Outfielder Bryce Harper left the Nationals to enter free agency and ended up signing with the Phillies on a then-record 13-year, $330 million contract. The two previous times Harper has returned to Washington, D.C. this year, as a visiting player, he has heard boos and heckling, but he seemed to take it in stride. However, last night, with the Nationals having already wrapped up a playoff berth and ended the Phillies’ playoff hopes, Harper says Nationals fans in right field were particularly nasty, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.

Harper said, “They were fine all game talking about myself and things like that. I mean, I get it everywhere I go. It’s nothing new, but the last inning – it’s just not right. It’s just not right.”

Harper wouldn’t elaborate on what the fans said specifically that was so offensive, but his wife Kayla tweeted, “When you bring his son or family into it, yes you’re crossing a line.”

Responding to several people on Twitter, Kayla added that the family-directed heckling hasn’t been from just one person and said, “It’s been going on all season.” She also said to someone who expressed skepticism over her claim, “I truly doubt you are aware of the [direct messages] I have gotten from nats fans all season. Wishing my son has autism when he’s born for example. So yes all season.”

Bryce and Kayla had their first child, Krew Aron, last month.

Bryce said, “That’s part of sports. I guess that’s what it is nowadays.” Later on, he said, “Individually you go out there and don’t really worry about what they’re saying. But there are times – it’s just not good and just not right. Everybody has a platform now whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or in the stands. They kind of say whatever they want and that’s just how it is. You kind of have to live with it. You see it in the NBA, you see it in the NFL and you see it here now and I guess it is just part of sports now.”

Mike Trout voted 2019 American League Most Valuable Player

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The Baseball Writers Association of America voted Angels outfielder Mike Trout the Most Valuable Player in the American League for the 2019 season. He received 17 of 30 first-place votes, earning the third AL MVP Award of his career.

Trout, 28, missed the final three weeks of the season due to a foot injury, but his numbers were still strong enough to overcome the competition. He led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and a 185 adjusted OPS, and led the AL with a .645 slugging percentage and 1.083 OPS. He also slugged 45 home runs, knocked in 104 runs, scored 110 runs, and stole 11 bases in 600 plate appearances. FanGraphs also gave him an edge over the competition in WAR at 8.6.

Trout, who also won the award in 2014 and ’16, is the third Angel to snag the hardware, joining Don Baylor (1979) and Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (2004). He is the 11th player to win three MVP awards, joining Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Álex Rodríguez, Stan Musial, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols, and Barry Bonds. Bonds is the only player to have won the award more than three times, winning a whopping seven MVP awards.

Alex Bregman finished in a close second place followed by Marcus  Semien, DJ LeMahieu, and Xander Bogaerts. Also receiving votes were Matt Chapman, George Springer, Mookie Betts, Nelson Cruz, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, Rafael Devers, Jorge Polanco, Austin Meadows, Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Gleyber Torres, Eddie Rosario, José Abreu, Max Kepler, J.D. Martinez, Yoán Moncada, Charlie Morton, Matt Olson, and Jorge Soler.