Sorry, but the Nats fan in me really enjoyed this:
Sorry, but the Nats fan in me really enjoyed this:
As news broke of Bryce Harper signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, one Nats reporter noted:
That got me thinking: how many games have the Nats and Phillies played against each other? How have the Nats fared? How will the Nats do against the Phillies without Bryce?
Well, I have answers to the first two questions. Only time will tell the answer to the third question.
Baseball Reference provides stats for each team’s season. So, here’s how the Nats have fared against the Phillies since 2005 (when the Expos moved to Washington, DC, and became the Nats):
Basically, the Nats and Phillies have been pretty evenly matched, though the Nats have lost a few more than they have won (125 wins to 135 losses) and the Phillies have outscored them 1,143 to 1,109. The Nats have a few more wins determined by a walk-off (17) than the Phillies (12).
How have individual Nats pitchers done against the Phillies? Here are the records of a few current and former Nationals pitchers:
So, three of the four guys with winning records against the Phillies (Fedde, Scherzer, and Strasburg) are still with the Nats. They should try get the fourth guy back (Gonzalez) – they’re gonna need all the help they can get against the Phillies now.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and I still don’t know which team to give my heart to.
The other day I said, “We should go to Miami, visit family, hang out at Versailles, and see a Marlins game.” Then it struck me (again): how can we plan a trip to see the Marlins when we don’t know which team we want to see them play? How can I plan anything when I don’t know which team(s) I’ll be following this year?
I noted previously that I feel like my life has been in limbo because of this Free Agency Shutdown. Every day I google “Manny Machado” and “Bryce Harper” desperately hoping for news. This, in fact, occurs several times a day. It’s beginning to feel like I’m living the same day over and over again. And I feel like all of the social media posts and articles on Spring Training are mocking me. Spring Training should be a joyous time of year – not a time of desperation and unease. This is not the Valentine’s Day we are looking for.
Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune is apparently feeling the same way. Yesterday he wrote,
“After reading Manny Machado was spotted with Kyle Schwarber at the baptism for Albert Almora Jr.’s son, I want more Manny news. I want to know where he is at all times and who is with him. Like the Stanley Cup. Or a Kardashian. Going out for food. Hanging out by the pool. Attending a school recital. Seeing the new Rebel Wilson rom-com. Driving for Uber. Where’s my MannyGram app?”
He also had a great solution to our dilemma:
“Maybe Machado and Bryce Harper should sign with Netflix. Put them in an RV and have them travel to major-league ballparks around the country. They could talk to fans about why owners charging a markup of more than 1,000 percent on beer can’t cover the cost of a top free agent. They could confront owners, asking on camera why teams couldn’t use their talent and what a fair price for their services might be. Let them surprise kids at Little League fields along the way, too, offering playing tips, signing autographs, explaining how arbitration works and the way free agency is supposed to go.”
Rosenthal went on to discuss free agency and labor issues in MLB (I’ll stop quoting him, though, just read the article). And this is where the Baseball Sociology comes in: this is not about players’ greed or owners’ stating they are losing money. It’s about workers rights, the labor market, and business negotiations. One hundred free agents remain unsigned. Is the free agency system “broken,” as Justin Verlander suggests?
To analyze this fully could result in an entire dissertation or multi-volume encyclopedia set. But it’s important to know the facts. We’re coming up upon the 50th anniversary of the infamous trade of Curt Flood from the Cardinals to the Phillies, which set us on the path to free agency. We’re also heading toward the end of the current MLB collective bargaining agreement (in December 2021), which means a lot of negotiations are coming.
Here are a few sites to help put the free agency issue into perspective:
Of course, the best source of information on free agency and players’ rights in Marvin Miller’s book, A Whole Different Ball Game: The Sport and Business of Baseball. This book is a must-read!
What’s missing from that list, however, is information on how this impacts the fans. Because right now, all I want to know is: which team will be my Valentine?
My dearest Baseball,
I can’t take much more of this. First, the nation was in limbo because of the government shutdown. Now, my life is in limbo because no one has signed Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Adam Jones, or Gio Gonzalez – my four favorite players! I’m reaching the breaking point.
Because of the Free Agent Shutdown, I can’t move forward with my life. I can’t plan a Spring Training vacation, because I don’t know who I will be rooting for. I can’t decide which MLB games to go to this season, because I just don’t know where Manny, Bryce, Adam, and Gio will be.
For the first time in a decade, I guess I won’t be meeting you in Florida for Spring Training this year. Last year, the Orioles broke my heart when they traded Manny and Jonathan Schoop, so I’m still mad at them and really don’t want to see them in Sarasota right now. It would be too sad without Manny, Adam, and Jonathan. Even if Cedric Mullins and some of my favorite former Baysox are there, it just won’t be the same. (And, by the way, are the O’s ever going to promote Garabez Rosa?)
Same with the Nats. Besides, since they abandoned Space Coast Stadium for fancier digs, I’m not all that in to their Spring Training anyway. And with no Bryce and no Gio, there’s just no point. I could go to Arizona, but I still wouldn’t know which teams to support – especially since Machado and Puig are no longer with the Dodgers.
The bottom line is, this isn’t hurting just me, its also hurting the economy. If I’m not spending money on plane tickets, game tickets, hotel, and food for Spring Training, its more than just me suffering. And lets not forget the fact that I can’t plan any in-season games since I don’t know which teams I might want to visit!
Baseball, I still love you. But I can’t go on this way. Please sign my guys, and please let it be to teams I can support. Otherwise, I might have to become a Yankees fan…
PS If you could manage to sign all four to the Padres (or the O’s or the Nats), I’d be happy once again!
Remember that tweet from a few months ago from Bryce Harper’s brother, Bryan? You know, this one:
Well, turns out this was a teaser ad for Blind Barber hair products, in which Bryce announced he’d become an investor. The full ad won the advertising industry’s 2018 Clio Fashion & Beauty Silver award:
Hispanic Heritage Month is officially from September 15 through October 15. However, many MLB clubs have already begun the celebration. On Monday, MLB issued a press release on the activities they will host during Hispanic Heritage Month (I still want to know how I can get a Ponle Acento shirt):
In addition, voting is underway for the 2018 Robert Clemente Award, which is “bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.” You can vote at MLB.com/clemente21.
In a related note, last week, Bryce Harper wore specially-designed cleats in honor of Roberto Clemente Day. He also won National League Player of the Week last week. Just a coincidence?
There were a lot of baseball highs (All-Star Futures Game, Home Run Derby, and the All-Star Game itself) and lows (bye-bye, Manny) last week, but the absolute best? Bryce Harper’s headband:
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Congratulations to Bryce Harper for winning the Home Run Derby on Monday Night. Shop Link in Bio to get the Washington D.C. Flag headband that Bryce was repping on Monday Night. . . . #junkbrands #junkbrand #junkheadbands #marathontraining #run #fitness #fitnessmotivation #headbands #health #expression #ocr #today #team #training #handmade #gym #goals #racewithjunk #junkondaily #outdoors #baseball #washingtondc #nationals #merica #america #homerun #team #wednesday #mondaymotivation #monday