Over the weekend, it seemed as if the end was coming. It seemed like our long, regional, never-ending Bryce Harper obsession was nearly over, that peace would come to all of us, and that this interminably long story was in its final chapter.
We are just so adorable, sometimes.
But alas, it appears it was just more noise from a faction of national baseball writers who seem intent on pushing the agenda of a couple of agents (perhaps one in particular), noise that had people looking under some pretty ridiculous rocks in order to try and learn the truth.
There were numerous reports that the Phillies told all their ticket sales employees to report to work on Presidents Day, a national holiday, because there was reason to believe the office would be flooded with an influx of calls. Why? Bryce Harper, or course. Those rumors were later squashed by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, who made it clear it was just the interns who would be in the office as per standard operating procedure.
There were people closely watching the flight of a private jet from Las Vegas to Clearwater and wondering if Harper and his people were on it or if it was connected to the Phillies. Because, you know, no one has ever flown directly from Las Vegas to Clearwater in a private jet before. Shockingly, it turned out to be nothing.
Certain baseball writers weren’t helping. If you looked at one of those writers’ tweets taken altogether, you got the sense Scott Boras was very pleased with what was being “reported.”
these bots are really getting out of hand pic.twitter.com/wKWCEjK1wj— Matt Carey (@RealMattCarey) February 18, 2019
On Episode 259 of “Hittin’ Season,” hosts John Stolnis, Justin Klugh and Liz Roscher talked about the hysteria, because it really did feel as though things were coming to a head. And certainly, it stands to reason things are closer to being resolved today than they were yesterday, or the day before that, if only because Opening Day drew one day closer.
So how do we get through all this? How do we keep an eye on our Tweetdeck and not viscerally respond to every single Bryce Harper rumor as it comes down the pike?
Well first, it’s important not to forget that there is another top free agent out there as well who was of particular interest to the Phillies earlier this season, too.
I don’t know the years. But my understanding is offer to Machado is for more than $250 million. https://t.co/kSkJo5DVwo— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) February 18, 2019
The Phils may not be out on Manny Machado, despite the entire city’s obsession with Harper. The Phillies themselves have obviously never said they prefer one over the other, and so obsessing about Harper may cause a level of disappointment in a Machado signing that absolutely should not be there.
Fans should not be disappointed if it turns out Machado is coming to Philadelphia. He would also immediately make them a World Series contender, although it wouldn’t have the splash a Harper signing would have, which is insane to write.
Of course, if you want to avoid the Harper drama, you could always dream about two years from now, although that’s not exactly something I’d advise.
Mike Trout on #Phillies Free agent search: ‘I didn’t go a day this winter without someone asking, ‘When you coming to Philly.’ I can’t predict the future.’— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 18, 2019
As stated before, waiting on Trout may not be the best idea, but at least it’s something different.
At the end of the day, it’s probably wisest to mute certain baseball accounts until this is all over, and remember that much of this is in the Phillies’ control. They can beat any offer out there and should in their pursuit of Harper or Machado. They know the stakes are high and that they have huge advantages on their side. Wrap yourselves in that knowledge and take solace knowing that things can change very quickly. For example, a team like the San Francisco Giants can go from being a feared competitor for Harper to one whose chances of landing the star outfielder appear to have plummeted.
"I think, if you're handicapping this thing right now, the Giants have gone from maybe 20% chance to a 2% chance."https://t.co/WxxHGcoVcK— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) February 18, 2019
Also, focus specifically on the local beat writers and the handful of national guys that aren’t slinging crap against the wall on an hourly basis. Or, better yet, leave your phone at home and go on a hike. Take your significant other out on a date. Look your children in the eyes when you play with them. Read a book.
I suggest these things as much for your benefit as for mine. I’m as guilty as anyone else in getting obsessed with Harperpalooza. We all want this to be over, and maybe this is the week it happens. Regardless, the best way to survive the Harper rumor mill is to think about the team as it currently stands.
Read about the third base battle. Consider what the Phils would do in the outfield without Harper. Think about the impressive array of arms in the bullpen, the brand new catcher, the slick-fielding, contact-making shortstop, the slugging first baseman and the starting rotation fronted by an ace who just signed a new, team-friendly contract extension.
Because until someone reputable actually has the Harper/Machado news ready to go, we’re all just driving ourselves, and each other, a little bit more insane as each day passes.
But that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop, does it?