New York Mets

Sixers' Josh Harris and David Blitzer interested in purchasing Mets: report

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Sixers' Josh Harris and David Blitzer interested in purchasing Mets: report

Sixers managing partner Josh Harris and co-managing partner David Blitzer hold identical titles with the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. Now, the two are reportedly interested in purchasing a third professional sports team.

According to a report from Scott Soshnick in Variety, Harris and Blitzer are “among the suitors” for the New York Mets. “Talks are still in the early stages,” Soshnick reports, with Harris and Blitzer not the only party interested. 

Harris’ purchase of the Sixers has been a fruitful one. A group led by Harris, the co-founder of Apollo Global Management, bought the team in 2011 for approximately $287 million. A Forbes valuation in February placed the Sixers' current value at $2 billion. 

The Mets might present a similar opportunity for growth. Soshnick writes that the franchise loses at least $50 million per year, not accounting for losses related to the delay of this MLB season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The team performed better than expected on the field last year, finishing 86-76, and has young, marketable talent in Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto and Noah Syndergaard. 

The Sixers have committed to long-term contracts for Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford, which leaves them projected to pay the luxury tax for the upcoming season. 

It’s unclear how steep the tax will be, but it will likely be higher than originally anticipated because of revenue losses related to the coronavirus. The league’s owners and the National Basketball Players Association have approved a 22-team plan to resume the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, without fans in attendance. 

In March, Harris received strong negative feedback about planned employee salary reductions. He reserved course on that decision and apologized. 

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2 Phillies old and new still dominate the minds of NL East rivals

2 Phillies old and new still dominate the minds of NL East rivals

If you're hated by another team's fan base, then you're typically doing something right.

The folks over at MLB.com went through the fun exercise of listing each team's fan base's most hated rival player. The results are in and two Phillies players are living rent free in the heads of NL East opponents.

The first and most obvious answer is Chase Utley owning the Mets' fan base. It's not every day that you get a section of an opposing team's ballpark named in your honor. "Utley's Corner" was a staple of Citi Field for years as Chase put up big-time numbers while visiting in Queens. And even after he left the Phillies, Utley angered Mets fans even more for the now infamous slide that broke Ruben Tejada's leg in the 2015 NLDS. Dirty? Maybe. Definitely questionable.

Remember that time New York booed Utley at the All-Star Game? His (nsfw) reaction was perfect. And Phillies fans will be happy to learn that the hatred goes both ways. Utley confirmed recently that he really doesn't like the Mets either.

Then there's Bryce Harper. Harper may be hated by the Braves and Marlins more for his days as a member of the Washington Nationals, but he's ours now, so we'll wear his disdain like a badge of honor here in Philly.

The Braves entry mentions a move I wasn't even aware of Harper pulling: "he truly drew the ire of Braves fans in 2014, when he swiped his foot through the team's 'A' logo in the dirt behind the plate before multiple at-bats."

Kinda love it!

The Marlins apparently still dislike Harper for a pine tar incident with Ozzie Guillen that nobody likely remembers from nearly a decade ago.

And if you needed proof that Nationals fans aren't the brightest bunch, they hate one of their franchise's best players ever. Just for taking a much better contract elsewhere. Makes sense.

As for who the Phillies fan base selected, it wasn't a guy who put a dagger through our hearts like Cody Ross or Joe Carter. Instead, we apparently still hold a grudge with a dude who didn't want to be ONE OF US. That's right. Philly fans still hate J.D. Drew for sitting out a year instead of playing for the Phillies.

The pettiness is real in Philadelphia and we are here for it.

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Former Phillies reliever Jared Hughes jokes about the famous J.T. Realmuto head-shake meme

Former Phillies reliever Jared Hughes jokes about the famous J.T. Realmuto head-shake meme

You've all seen the clip. It was pretty much the Crying Jordan meme of the 2019 Phillies season. Reliever Jared Hughes sprinting to the mound from the bullpen in the eighth inning, just after the Mets had gone ahead on an Amed Rosario two-run single. 

Booking it to the mound is Hughes' thing. In this instance, catcher J.T. Realmuto was upset with the previous at-bat and was seen shaking his head while standing on the mound awaiting Hughes. To almost everyone, it looked like Realmuto was upset that Hughes would risk winding himself in an important spot.

Hughes, who has been running from the bullpen to the mound for years and had 2.41 ERA in 345 appearances from 2014-18, then allowed a home run to the first batter he faced.

"Now I can laugh about it because I'm far enough away from the home run that it's like OK, I learned from it, I'm able to get by it," Hughes said last week in a video for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a non-profit organization which educates youth and their adult influencers about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.

"But at the same time, I can appreciate the humor in it. I could a little bit then but not as much as I can now. I watched it immediately and I was like, "Oh gosh, this is so hard to watch.' But then I watched it a week later and it was hilarious. 

"Of course, the next day, Realmuto came up to me and was like, 'Dude, I totally didn't mean to do that, I'm so sorry, it was about the previous pitch, it wasn't about you, it looked terrible.'"

Hughes had a rough time in Philly. In just 23 innings with the Phillies, he allowed seven home runs, more than his full-season totals in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 or 2018. Some of that obviously had to do with the juiced ball. But his sinker didn't sink as consistently as it did in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh. The Phillies took a late-season flier on him and it didn't bear a ton of fruit. 

Hughes signed with the Astros in mid-February.

"[Realmuto] felt terrible about it, I thought it was hilarious," Hughes said. "Any time you can be part of a meme — well, maybe I'll take that back. At the time it wasn't hilarious because I did give up a home run to the very first hitter and then Jomboy broke it all down and there was a really rough video that came after that. But at the same time, I do understand it. I appreciate that baseball entertainment can be done in a lot of different ways. At that time it was done at my expense, but I'm just happy I could go out there and even have an opportunity to be broken down. 

"Unfortunate timing, but now it's a very famous and popular meme and I'm very honored to be a part of it."

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