Saturday, November 10, 2018

We can all dream about Bryce Harper wearing our favorite team’s laundry

We’re in the off-season, with some of us intrigued by that U.S. All Star team now traveling across Japan to promote the game, while others of us are intrigued by the Silver Slugger awards for the game’s top hitters.
Tired of playing for 'Walgreens?'

Jose Abreu of the White Sox was amongst the winners, making him truly the highlight for the team as they enter Year Three of an alleged rebuild.

YET I SUSPECT most fans are getting worked up over the “free agents,” as in the ballplayers whose contracts have expired – making them free to negotiate with any team they want.

Star Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals apparently is fed up with the notion of being the capital’s sports celebrity, and is the guy that every team wants to fantasize will head for their city to play beginning in 2019.

That even includes both Chicago teams. The speculation has put both the Cubs and the White Sox on the list of teams intrigued at the thought of having Harper play in their outfield.

There actually once was a time when people seriously were saying that Harper himself fantasized about playing for the Chicago Cubs someday. Harper as a kid grew up in the Las Vegas area, as did Cubs star Kris Bryant.
Childhood/star pairing not likely for Wrigley

THE TWO KNEW each other as kids. They considered each other friends, and both went on to play professional baseball at high levels.

The notion being that Bryant and Harper would unite on the North Side, giving the baby blue Bruins a pair of stars to go along with some of the other talent they have amassed in recent years. A Bryant/Harper pairing could become bigger than the Jordan/Pippen pair that led the Chicago Bulls to basketball stardom back in the ‘90s.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the very notion was wishful thinking on the part of Cubs fans who have always carried the delusion that EVERYBODY deep down wants to be a Cub or root for the Cubs or have some sort of association with the Cubbies. With that kind of arrogance, you'd think they were the Yankees!
Negotiation prep? Or prank of the Sox?
Now, there’s talk that the Cubs’ payroll obligations are so high that they can’t afford the kind of money it would take to sign him (just to give you an idea, Harper recently turned down an offer of $300 million spread over 10 seasons to remain in Washington).

IN FACT, IT may be that Bryant is too big a financial obligation to the Cubs in the future for them to afford more big name ballplayers. The idea of a Bryant/Harper pair may be too fantastical for the Wrigley Field scene.

Yet in recent days, there has been speculation arising that the White Sox may try to juice up interest in the ball club by spending the big bucks it would take to add Harper to the Sout’ Side scene.

It was spurred on by photographs that were made public of digital images at the United Center depicting Harper’s name, uniform number of 34 (the same as one-time Chicago Bear Walter Payton) and the White Sox’ Old English script logo.

Some say the White Sox (who share the same ownership as the Chicago Bulls) were preparing some sort of video display that could be used as part of a marketing effort to make Harper realize Chicago has two teams -- and that he could become extremely wealthy being Bryant's crosstown rival.

OTHERS SAY IT may have been someone messing around and trying to get White Sox fandom worked up over a ballplayer they can’t have. Although if that was the intent, it flopped. Most White Sox fans are actually ridiculing the notion of Harper playing ball on 35th Street.
Remains D.C.'s star baseballer of all-time

It may well be that the idea of Harper coming to Chicago on either side of town is too outlandish an ideal. Philadelphia Phillies fans in particular are being fed loads of information implying he’s headed for their team, But it is the time of year where everybody can dream they’re going to get the stars that will make them winners!

But a part of me thinks Harper is being a big short-sighted in not staying in Washington. Admittedly, the Nationals of recent years have been a team with playoff dreams who consistently have managed to fall short.

But could Bryce have become the biggest-name ballplayer ever (topping Hall of Famer Walter Johnson?) to wear a “W” for Washington on his ball cap? Or is he just that tired of having people mistake the curly-cue “W” for a “Walgreens” logo?


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