Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Bryce Harper shares thoughts on Nationals playing in World Series without him

Right around the time the Washington Nationals were clinching their World Series berth this week, a guy who left that team to come play in Philadelphia posted a cute photo to his Instagram story with his baby son. It included the caption, "cuddle time is the best time."

I made light of the juxtaposition of that photo with what Nationals players were currently doing in a tongue-in-cheek tweet, but it's hard not to think about Bryce Harper during this Nationals run.

We know exactly how Nationals fans down in DC feel about their former favorite slugger who departed DC for big time bucks. They won't stop telling us.

But what was Harper feeling? Thanks to a one-on-one interview Harper did with Jayson Stark of the Athletic, we now have a glimpse into Harper's mind during this unique time.

Stark says Harper was effusive in his praise of the city of Philadelphia during their chat. And the majority of Harper's answers are very savvy in a public relations sense. Harper is good at saying what you think he's supposed to say. But it doesn't come off as disingenuous.

Stark asked Harper if he was feeling any jealousy watching his old pals spray champagne in the locker room and his answer comes off as pretty honest. From the Athletic ($):

“No,” he said again, without a millisecond’s hesitation, “because like I said, I made my decision, and that was my decision. And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn’t good. For me, it’s about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude towards anybody else.

“I think it’s about being able to be the person that I am,” he went on, “and not saying to myself, `Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m not a National.’ Or, `Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they’re doing. I can’t believe it. I’m so jealous.’ No. I’m so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”

There's plenty more to the piece worth diving into. Stark also spoke with former National/Phillie Jayson Werth, who knows a thing or two about both cities/clubs and also what it's like to play alongside Harper.

The Nationals' opponent in the World Series is yet to be set, but whether it's the Nationals, New York Yankees or Houston Astros who are spraying champagne at the end of it, you won't see Harper doing that. Unless he and his little baby pop up in his Instagram stories getting wacky.

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Nationals poised for trip to World Series ... so fans are celebrating Bryce Harper's absence?

Nationals poised for trip to World Series ... so fans are celebrating Bryce Harper's absence?

The Washington Nationals are now one win away from a trip to the World Series thanks in large part to Stephen Strasburg's admittedly amazing performance on Monday night over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Nationals fans should be stoked about their team. And it's likely, in some ways, that they are. But it's also somewhat bizarre what some Nats fans have chosen to celebrate.

This photo and tweet have been making the rounds this morning and caused a bit of a buzz in Philadelphia.

Tickets - $35, Beer - $10, Bryce Harper watching from home - Priceless

Let's just ignore the fact you can get into a NLCS game for $35 in DC for a second.

Your team is poised to celebrate a league title and you're celebrating the fact that a guy who used to be on your team is... no longer on your team? Okay.

The person in the replies who said it's like going to your own wedding and being most excited about the fact that your ex wasn't invited to the party makes a solid point. It's weird.

I suppose it's worth cutting Nationals fans some slack in this situation because they don't know what it's like to actually make it to the World Series and you've got to learn how to react to things by actually experiencing them.

So, if they end up making it to and losing in the World Series to the New York Yankees or Houston Astros, Nats fans will know how to react to that. They're used to losing in the playoffs.

I wonder what they'll celebrate then?

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With Gabe Kapler fired, where does Phillies job rank among managerial vacancies?

With Gabe Kapler fired, where does Phillies job rank among managerial vacancies?

It took 11 days, but the Phillies finally made the move on Thursday, firing Gabe Kapler after two years as manager. 

They are now the eighth team to make a managerial change this offseason, and these eight openings are not equal. What would the power rankings look like based on desirability? 

This was more difficult than it may seem. There is no clear-cut No. 1 job and cases could be made for several teams.

1. Mets

Yes, I'm going with the Mets. Why? Because of all the teams in search of a new manager, they have the best combination of young talent and established talent.

A lineup can be built around Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto. Another couple pieces are needed but that's a solid foundation. Add in Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman and the possibility of a returning Zack Wheeler and that's still one of the game's best rotations. Plus, the Mets could still package Syndergaard in a trade for upgrades elsewhere.

The knocks on the Mets job are their recent history, their ownership's lack of commitment to spending to the size of the market, and the pressure-cooker environment. But Chicago and Philadelphia are also pressure-cooker environments, and this Mets core seems closer to winning 90 games than the current cores of the Phillies and Cubs.

2. Phillies

A case could be made to have the Phillies lower on this list. The new manager, whoever it may be, will have several hurdles. He will be tasked with winning now, and he'll know how he'll be received if he doesn't. The expectations here will probably still exceed the actual talent level of the 40-man roster because of the elite pieces (Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Aaron Nola) in place.

There's also the question about the front office, who are now one straw away from being let go themselves. If that were to happen, that manager's job will be in jeopardy again because a new front office would be hired and likely want its own man.

Yet even with those considerations, this is a decent job for a prospective manager because of ownership's commitment to winning. If you come here, you know John Middleton and the ownership group will spend to put the right pieces around Harper and the Phils' core. 

3. Padres

Of the teams with vacancies, the Padres have the most young talent: Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Joey Lucchesi, Dinelson Lamet, a couple top prospects in lefty Mackenzie Gore and centerfielder Taylor Trammell. Plus, Manny Machado.

San Diego isn't a bad place to live, either. The downside of this job is the Padres' spending history and how far they still are behind the Dodgers.

4. Cubs

Things have gotten stale on the North Side. The core that was so good from 2015-18 did not meet expectations in 2019, especially down the stretch. One of Kris Bryant or Javier Baez could be moved this offseason. The rotation is aging. The bullpen is mediocre and Craig Kimbrel didn't help. 

Like in Philly, the expectations will be for the Cubs to be better than their roster currently is.

5. Angels

Mike Trout single-handedly makes this a better job than any of the teams lower on the list. They haven't yet won with him but will have a chance to figure out the right formula as long as he's there.

6. Giants

Great organization, winning history, intelligent front office ... but far away from winning with too many unproductive veterans. 

7. Royals

No history of spending, no elite young pieces in place, worse position than the Twins, Indians and White Sox.

8. Pirates

Things have really bottomed out in Pittsburgh. The trade of Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow to Tampa Bay for Chris Archer set the Pirates franchise back years.

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