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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.”

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”