fbpx

Bryce Harper Already Stirring The Pot For Phillies While His Former Team, The Nationals, Soldiers On

The Latest With MLB A sunny afternoon and the Boston Red Sox brought 7,100 to the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Tuesday. That’s the spring home of...

The Latest With MLB

A sunny afternoon and the Boston Red Sox brought 7,100 to the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Tuesday. That’s the spring home of the Washington Nationals (and the Houston Astros), but Nationals fans were outnumbered by the devotees of the Red Sox.

With a pitch clock ticking – it’s an experiment to see if it speeds up the pace of play – and with a seven-running inning by the Sox in an eventual 8-4 win, the game lasted a bit more than three hours. It left plenty of time for conversation about the man who wasn’t there – Bryce Harper.

The former Nationals star last week signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. And while has yet to appear in a game, he’s been anything but quiet. And he may be breaking baseball’s rules in the process.

First, though, some fan sentiment on Harper. Nats fans didn’t seem to think losing him was going to hurt much. The Nats were 82-80 last year and missed the playoffs, in part because of Harper’s early-season slump. A playoff team four times dating to 2012, the Nats never got past the National League Division Series, so it’s not as if the linchpin of championships departed.

If anything, the fans just didn’t want to have to see Harper play against the Nats 19 times for a division rival.

Harper, meanwhile, has been giving interviews in which he says he will urge Mike Trout, the two-time American League MVP, to come to Philly when he becomes a free agent in 2021. The Los Angeles Angels are a bit distraught over this bit of possible tampering and have contacted Major League Baseball. Harper has twice advocated for Trout, a New Jersey native with Philadelphia ties, to come home.

“If you don’t think I’m going to call Mike Trout to come to Philly in 2020, you’re crazy,” Harper told Philadelphia’s 94WIP in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Expect a warning from MLB. Nothing more. It’s too far in the future for fans to grow concerned.

On this afternoon, it was the new-look Nats, the Nats without Harper. He didn’t seem to be missed.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

Follow @TwistityNews