Harper enjoying queries
MIAMI — Good news: Bryce Harper likes playing in New York.
Answer to a question from a Chicago reporter: Harper likes playing there, too.
Los Angeles? Yep, has always enjoyed the trip.
Oh, and the Washington Nationals outfielder also has an affinity for the only home he’s known as a major leaguer, D.C.
Still nearly two years out from what is anticipated to be perhaps the most scrutinized free agency in any sport since LeBron James’, Harper already is fielding a remarkable number of questions about it.
And, truth be told, Harper, 24, doesn’t mind.
“I think it’s fun,” Harper said Monday. “I think it’s fun for fans, I think it’s fun for baseball. I think it’s part of the world that we live in and the way people want to know and always have an opinion about it. I think everybody’s going to have an opinion about it the next year and a half, two years.”
Many assume the New York Yankees will end up with Harper — yet it’s always useful to remind those doing the assuming that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner isn’t his father when it comes to such things — but the right fielder wasn’t providing any clues.
“I’ve always said I enjoy playing in D.C., I love the city of D.C.,” Harper said. “I love driving to Nats Park. I don’t like 395, but I don’t think anybody does. Being able to go to Nats Park every single day, have the team that we do, the respect I have for the Lerner family [owners] and [general manager] Mike Rizzo is above and beyond. The young guys that we have, we have a great club. So I’m looking forward to what we can do this year and go from there.”
Lone ’16 Cub
World Series champions usually get to keep on celebrating at the following year’s All-Star Game. Not this year. Manager Joe Maddon is the only member of the Chicago Cubs’ first championship team since 1908 attending the AllStar Game. With the Cubs languishing at 43-45, tied for second in the NL Central and 5½ games back of Milwaukee, their only All-Star is Wade Davis. The reliever was acquired in December in a trade with Kansas City.
“Yesterday was an awkward moment for me accepting my jersey in front of our entire team in Wrigley Field,” Maddon said Monday. “To be presented a jersey on our field in front of all of our fans and have none of our players out there was different. It was difficult.”
The previous World Series champion with just one All-Star was the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007 with Albert Pujols.
Davis predicted a rebound after the All-Star Game.
“There’s a lot of talent on that team and they’ll be fine. They’re going to be good,” he said. “I guarantee it.”
Flying to Miami was something every All-Star had to do Sunday with the festivities at Marlins Park on Monday.
But in a plane co-piloted by Boston Red Sox center fielder Mookie Betts? Only Chris Archer did that, accepting Betts’ invitation to hop in his five-seater for the short hop from Tampa, Fla., after the Rays beat the Sox, 5-3, at Tropicana Field. Archer posted Instagram photos of Betts at the controls and continued to marvel at Betts, who also went deep off him Sunday.
“He told me he’s good at video games, so I trusted him,” Archer said Monday. “He’s good at everything. He can do a Rubik’s Cube, he’s a 300 bowler. He hit a homer off me, then flew me to Miami in a jet.”
Posey back home
Buster Posey is going to be on the home team in Miami.
The San Francisco Giants catcher will be playing for the NL in the All-Star Game at Marlins Park today. It’ll be a rare instance of Posey being on the fan-favorite side in Miami — since, after all, he played his college baseball at Florida State.
And the Seminoles are the archrival of the University of Miami. The Hurricanes’ campus is about eight miles from Marlins Park.
“I remember coming down here and the humidity just being stifling,” Posey said of playing against the Hurricanes. “It was probably May or early June at the time. Good memories.”
Marlins Park has a roof. So at least humidity won’t be an issue this time.