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Trea Turner wouldn't mind leaving 'Baby Shark' behind

Trea Turner wouldn't mind leaving 'Baby Shark' behind

As the Nationals embark on their World Series title defense in 2020, they’ll be doing so without a few contributors of their championship run.

Anthony Rendon is the most obvious name that will be tossed around as leaving a hole in Washington’s roster, but journeyman outfielder Gerardo Parra will also be missed as an injection of energy both for the team and its fans. And with the departure of Parra to Japan, his walkup song “Baby Shark” may be leaving with him.

For shortstop Trea Turner, the lack of shark chomps across the park won’t be missed all that much.

“I’ve heard it many a times, I don’t need to hear it again,” Turner told the Nationals Talk podcast’s Todd Dybas and Tim Shovers at the team’s annual WinterFest event over the weekend.

“But I’m all for energy in the stadium and every time that song came on everybody went nuts and I think it’s fun to be to be a part of. When 35-40,000 people are getting into something, getting behind something, I think that’s awesome.”

That doesn’t mean Turner wants to get rid of it entirely, though.

“I don’t know if the song per say needs to be played but Baby Shark T-shirts and stuff are fine with me.”

Some fans might call Turner a downer, but it’s certainly a different experience for players who are at the stadium every night than it is for most fans who only go to at most a few games a year.

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One year later, Bryce Harper is in a very different spring training atmosphere

One year later, Bryce Harper is in a very different spring training atmosphere

When Bryce Harper signed his then-record 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies last March, the stands at Spectrum Field in Clearwater were filled to the brim on a daily basis while the media scrums in the home locker room had twice as many reporters firing questions.

That’s what happens when the most polarizing player in baseball, a former MVP and No. 1 overall pick who’s drawn his fair share of both fans and critics, joins a big-market organization looking to jump back into contention for the first time in almost a decade.

But a year later, with the Phillies having missed the playoffs entirely and much bigger storylines dominating the sport, things have been calmer in Clearwater this spring.

"It's definitely different coming into camp," Harper said Tuesday, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury. "It's good knowing I'll be here the next 12 years, a lot more calm, not as crazy, not as many cameras. I'll enjoy that and just get ready for the season."

Harper made his spring season debut Tuesday, going 0-1 with a walk and sacrifice fly while playing five innings in right field. With a month to go before the start of the regular season, Harper’s goal for the rest of spring isn’t too complicated.

"Just be healthy," he said. "Take good routes in the outfield, throw the ball well out there, have good at-bats."

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Max Scherzer not pleased with new playoff format proposal

Max Scherzer not pleased with new playoff format proposal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Here is a summation on Max Scherzer’s thoughts about the proposed playoff format changes: No.

Is he willing to talk about it? Yes. Does his voice matter as a member of the MLBPA executive board? Yes. Would he consider alterations in the future? Yes.

However, the idea of adding teams to the postseason -- expanding the total number of entrants to 14 which would be almost half the league -- is not something which appeals to Scherzer at this point. 

“For me, it’s really hard to sit there and say our playoffs are broken,” Scherzer told NBC Sports Washington. “When we look at how we won the World Series, we made it as a wild-card team and we won the World Series, we’ve also seen the best team in baseball go out there and win the World Series as well. To me, as we sit here today, the playoffs are functioning as they should because the second wild-card spot and the teams behind it are typically only a few games behind, so really adding those teams, those teams should already be in the hunt and finding a way to make the playoffs already.”

If the proposal was law last season, here’s how the National League playoffs would have looked (number of wins in parentheses):

Division winners

Atlanta Braves (97)

St. Louis Cardinals (91)

Los Angeles Dodgers (106)

Wild-cards

Washington (93)

Milwaukee (89)

New York (86)

Arizona (85)

The 84-win Cubs would have finished a game out of the final wild-card spot.

The Dodgers would receive a first-round bye. The Braves would get to choose their opponent from the bottom three wild-card teams (Presumably, it would be Arizona in order to avoid Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg or Jacob deGrom in a one-game playoff). So, the 97-win Braves would be playing the 85-win Diamondbacks for the chance to advance. If the Diamondbacks know they have the same shot as a 97-win team, what’s to prompt their investment in the offseason or trade deadline? 

“When you start talking about increasing the teams that make the playoffs, I have a huge concern over the competition that resides in the regular season,” Scherzer said. “In this format that is proposed, really the team that finishes in second place is really in the same field as the team that finishes in seventh place. We’ve seen trades in the past where good teams have unloaded players for a number of reasons and maybe not necessarily put the best product on the field, and they don’t feel they would have to compete as strongly if there is a very, very strong team in the league. 

“So, there’s significant concerns for me moving forward with their proposal. Something I think we can work through, something we can talk about. But I think there’s other issues at play with our system, with the CBA and the way the economic structure of the game is working that I think are more pertinent issues we need to address as a whole to increase competition throughout the game. Without addressing those concerns, I think it’s pointless to start talking about the playoffs.”

Those concerns are?

“Those are concerns that will be addressed when the time is right in the CBA talks,” Scherzer said. “Those talks will [begin] after [the] 2021 [season]. I look forward to having those talks. We need to have those talks about what the game needs to look like going forward, how teams can compete -- small-market teams, large-market teams and what the game needs to move to as we continue to see how fans experience the game.”

But, for now, it’s a no on the playoff expansion.

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