Phillies

The Manny Machado-Bryce Harper saga drones on at Phillies camp

The Manny Machado-Bryce Harper saga drones on at Phillies camp

CLEARWATER, Fla. —  The saga involving Manny Machado and Bryce Harper is now 3½ months old.

At Phillies camp, it is becoming a little annoying, a little amusing, a little exhausting.

The players are tired of being asked about it.

Team officials simply shrug.

No one knows when it will end.

General manager Matt Klentak says he is comfortable that the team has put its best foot forward in the pitches it has made to both players.

“It takes two to tango,” he has said.

“We’re just half the equation,” club president Andy MacPhail has said.

The Phillies entertained Machado at Citizens Bank Park several days before Christmas. Team officials visited with Harper in Las Vegas in January.

The club went into the offseason favoring Machado because he would make a difference not only in the batting order, but also at third base, where he is an elite defender. That’s not to say the Phillies don’t like what Harper’s left-handed bat and box-office appeal would bring. After all these months of waiting, and with spring training underway, it’s now a jump ball between Machado and Harper: Whoever wants the Phillies’ money — come get it.

But when will it happen?

When will the Phillies' love be requited?

All sorts of rumors and could-be’s and should-be’s and might-be’s have floated around all weekend. Internet sleuths monitored private jets headed from Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas to the Clearwater-St. Petersburg airport.

Meanwhile, amid the ridiculousness, Phillies camp goes on. The first full-squad workout is Monday. 

There are lockers available.

Machado’s No. 13 is available.

Harper’s No. 34 is available.

Rhys Hoskins still thinks one of them is coming. But even he — one of the most good-natured guys around — is sick of being asked about it.

How 'bout you, Gabe Kapler?

“I know that the conversations (between the Phillies and both free agents) are happening, but I don’t ride the waves up and down,” the manager said. “I’d be thrilled if we had either of those guys in our camp. The roster right now is a much improved one and our guys are focused on that right now.”

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Brett Myers' walk against CC Sabathia was an all-time Philly sports moment

Brett Myers' walk against CC Sabathia was an all-time Philly sports moment

I was sitting in section 110 at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. “They actually did it,” I remember thinking. It was a truly remarkable feeling.

It was the first championship I ever witnessed a team from Philadelphia pull off.

But if you asked me what the most memorable play that I witnessed in person from that run was, my answer probably wouldn’t be from Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Or even from any of the three World Series games I attended in South Philly that series.

That’s because Brett Myers drew a walk.

NBC Sports Philadelphia will re-air Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers this evening and I’ll get to watch Shane Victorino take CC Sabathia deep for a legendary grand slam once again.

But it was all made possible by the Phillies' starting pitcher working a remarkable at-bat against the Brewers' ace that had the 46,208 screaming fans at Citizens Bank Park going ballistic.

"Myers looked like a woodchopper as he fouled off pitches to prolong the at-bat and the full house loved it. The crowd and the length of the at-bat clearly weighed on Sabathia because he walked the next batter, Jimmy Rollins, on four pitches to load the bases,” is how Jim Salisbury described it today. My memory is pretty similar, but from the vantage point of the second row in the third level in right field where I was sitting with my dad and friend Matt.

One of the aspects of sports that makes it such a joy is its unpredictability. Myers shouldn’t have stood a chance against Sabathia, and yet with each fouled-off pitch, the roar of the crowd grew, the white rally towels waving higher.

And the chants. How can you forget the chants?!

“CEEEEE! CEEEEE! … CEEEEEE! CEEEEEE!”

Man, that sure was fun. One of the most joyous moments of being a Philly sports fan I've experienced.

“Most f******g insane [stuff],” Matt texted me yesterday when reminiscing.

“SHANE.”

That’s all that needed to be said. No questions asked.

I took out my camera prior to the seventh pitch of the Myers' at-bat and started recording. My favorite part of the video is the laughing at what we were witnessing. So rewatch the TV broadcast of the 2008 NLDS tonight but enjoy the view from the crowd once more below. 

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Bryce Harper shares message of support for black community

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@bryceharper3/IG

Bryce Harper shares message of support for black community

As many athletes have in recent days, Bryce Harper shared his thoughts and feelings early Tuesday morning on racial injustice in America.

The country is eight days removed from the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. The heinous nature of that crime and its all-too-familiar themes have led to protesting nationwide of police brutality and the constant issue of race in America. 

Harper shared this picture with a message of support for the black community.

The caption read:

I’ve been trying to come up with words for this post. Trying to write the right things and trying to get my mind and heart wrapped around this. I grew up on the East Side of Las Vegas around many different cultures knowing one thing — My parents taught me to love everyone equally, regardless of the color of their skin, where they came from, young or old. Our Heavenly Father made us this way, as unique individuals, so we would all come together and do everything we could to get back to him one day. To love one another, to build each other up, to root for one another, and to be ONE with each other. I will never know what it is like to be an African American man, woman, or child. The one thing I do know is I will always stand with them and for them. I will always be there when they need me. I will always have their backs, knowing they have always had mine. I will love my brothers and sisters and will teach my son to love all as well. To the Floyd family, and to all the other families that have experienced trauma, loss of life, inequality, racism, and hatred - I am so sorry for that. This world that we live in should have no room for it. We as Americans have to come together and stop this in all walks of life. I will listen, speak up, love, stand, and act for what I believe is right. I will never stop!! I love you all my brothers and sisters! We are ONE!✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

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