With a hug and a laugh, warring factions become allies in Phillies’ clubhouse

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With a hug and a laugh, warring factions become allies in Phillies’ clubhouse

CINCINNATI — Trades can make strange bedfellows.

Fifteen months ago, Edubray Ramos and Asdrubal Cabrera were ready to tear each other apart.

Now they are teammates, bonded by the common goal of trying to help the Phillies get to the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

Cabrera joined the Phillies on Saturday in a trade from the New York Mets. One of the first people he met when he arrived in his new team’s clubhouse was Ramos.

In April 2017, Ramos buzzed a 96-mph fastball by Cabrera’s head and basically called him on for a fight (see story). The incident stemmed from Cabrera hitting a walk-off, three-run homer against Ramos the previous September in New York. Cabrera celebrated the homer with a big-air bat flip. The Mets even celebrated the bat flip with a bobblehead the next season.

Ramos did not see any of the fun in the bat flip. He stewed about it throughout the winter of 2016-2017 and sought revenge the next season.

But now, the feud is over. The two men, both natives of Venezuela, talked it over Saturday and laughed about it Sunday morning.

“We shook hands, we hugged it out, we talked about,” said Ramos. “At the end of the day, we’re both professionals and we’re here to help the same team win. That’s pretty much the bottom line.”

Cabrera agreed.

“I always say, whatever happens in this game stays on the field, you know? He’s from my country, too,” Cabrera said. “We said hi and we talked during the game (Saturday). He’s my teammate now. What happens in the past stays in the past.”

Ramos said news of the trade made him a little uncomfortable at first.

“But I knew (meeting him) was going to happen at some point,” he said. “Good thing it was just one of those things you can talk about and get over.”

Ramos is 25. Cabrera is 32.

“When I was little I would watch him on TV, when he played in the States and in Venezuela,” Ramos said. “I’m not going to say that I have always rooted for him because there are a lot of Venezuelan guys but, of course, it made me proud that a very talented Venezuelan guy was out there.”

Ramos is currently on the disabled list with a strained knee. When he comes off the DL, he will gladly take a home run from Cabrera even if it comes with a bat flip.

“For sure," Ramos said with a laugh. "It's going to be much better to have him on this side."

Cabrera showed a sense of humor, too. He still has a few of those bobbleheads the Mets gave away to commemorate his big homer and celebration after taking Ramos deep in September 2016.

“I was thinking of sending him one as a joke,” Cabrera said with a laugh.

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National League dominates MLB fan loyalty rankings, Phillies land in Top 10

National League dominates MLB fan loyalty rankings, Phillies land in Top 10

Will baseball's 60-game return have enough oomph to keep fans interested? It's a question that scares some of the game's biggest names, but I have no doubt Phillies fans will be supporting their team in late July.

And according to a new ranking of MLB fans' loyalty, the Phils will probably fare better than most.

The new Forbes ranking, released Wednesday, attempts to rank each fanbase by its respective loyalty, a tall task. The ranking factors in things like local TV ratings, stadium attendance, ticket demand, merch sales, and social media reach, then adjusts for local population. 

It's an imperfect science, but it's not a bad approach. And the Phillies finished in the Top 10, so I'll take it - even if they could've been higher.

Phillies fans rank No. 9 in loyalty among all 30 teams, according to Forbes, and sixth among seven NL teams in the Top 10. Here's the Forbes explanation:

9. Philadelphia Phillies

Sales of right fielder Bryce Harper’s jersey set a record for any sport for any player during the first 24 hours after his signing last year, helping to make the team’s merchandise among the league’s best-selling. But Phillies fans are a notoriously tough crowd. After witnessing a 6-5 win at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates in late September, Phillies fans booed Harper and the team for not winning by more, prompting former utility player Sean Rodriguez, whose home run won the game, to call them "entitled" in the press. Because of the backlash he received from fans, he apologized the next day for the use of the word—proving the fans are always right.

You'll be happy to know the Phillies finish atop the NL East, just one spot ahead of the Atlanta Braves. That's enjoyable.

I won't take issue with the Red Sox, Cubs, Cardinals, Yankees, and Dodgers representing the Top 5. Those are basically immovable. But after that, things get a bit more interesting.

The Brewers, Giants, and Indians all have loyal fanbases, but I don't know if I'd argue they're any more loyal than Phillies fans. Every fanbase ebbs and flows with its team's success, especially teams that aren't traditional powerhouses. When the Phils are on top of their game, South Philly is a borderline Top 5 place to watch a ball game.

I could see the Phils landing anywhere between No. 6 and No. 9 on this list. Personally, I'd put them above the Indians and Brewers - but, again, this is all imperfect science.

Earlier this year, Forbes released a ranking of the 10 most passionate sports fanbases in the country, and the Eagles finished No. 5 overall, behind four other NFL teams. Not a bad year for the area's fan reputation.

The 2020 Major League Baseball season is scheduled to begin July 23.

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Bobby Bonilla will be paid more in 2020 than a dozen notable Phillies

Bobby Bonilla will be paid more in 2020 than a dozen notable Phillies

Even in one of the strangest years in human history, Bobby Bonilla gets his money.

It's July 1, Bobby Bonilla Day, the date he gets his annual payment of just under $1.2 million from the Mets. The Mets will pay Bonilla that amount each year until 2035, at which point they'll have paid him about $30 million. The Mets came up with this deal in 2000 to avoid paying Bonilla a $5.9 million buyout in one lump sum.

Turned out to be an awful deal for the Mets, whose owners, The Wilpons, would go on to lose a ton of money in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. The Wilpons, two decades later, are trying to sell the team. The Mets have reportedly lost more than $60 million in each of the last two seasons and have hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. This was not the financial position the franchise foresaw when it deferred all that money to Bonilla.

The highest-paid player overall this season could also turn out to be a player who hasn't played in years: Prince Fielder. Fielder is owed $24 million in the final year of his contract with the Rangers, four years after he suffered a career-ending neck injury.

Big-leaguers in 2020 are set to make 37% of their salaries since only 37% of the regular season (at most) will be played. For Bryce Harper, it means about $9.4 million instead of $25.4 million. The biggest salary in the majors in 2020 belongs to Mike Trout at $36 million, of which he'll make about $13.3 million.

Any major-leaguer who was set to earn less than $3.2 million this season will, in fact, make less from their contract than Bonilla in 2020. 

Here are some of the Phillies players who will earn less in 2020 salary than Bonilla:

Rhys Hoskins
Zach Eflin
Nick Pivetta
Adam Haseley
Roman Quinn
Adam Morgan
Tommy Hunter
Jose Alvarez
Andrew Knapp
Seranthony Dominguez
Ranger Suarez
Nick Williams

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