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Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto believes Bryce Harper is misunderstood

Bryce Harper didn’t have a single plate appearance in the month of October. But, he was still a topic of discussion.

That’s because his former team, which he left last offseason, hoisted the World Series trophy not even a year after his departure. Though the focus should primarily be on the current members of the Washington Nationals who put together one of the most miraculous postseasons in recent history, Harper’s narrative was too much to be ignored.

Coming up with the Nationals as a teenager and quickly skyrocketing to a face of Major League Baseball, then leaving in free agency for the NL East rival Phillies didn’t sit well with many in the D.C. area.

On a national level, his vibrant, intense personality, paired with the $330 million he’ll make over 13 seasons doesn’t have many feeling too bad for him when things don’t go his way.

So, is he just a soul whose intentions are good?

 

QLE Posted: November 06, 2019 at 01:14 AM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bryce harper, j.t. realmuto

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   1. Hank Gillette Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:17 AM (#5899005)
Please don’t let him be misunderstood.
   2. manchestermets Posted: November 06, 2019 at 05:24 AM (#5899006)
Does Harper have any particular reputation for obnoxiousness? The main negative points about him seem to be

1. Not necessarily as good as his best season suggests. This obviously isn't his fault per se, but it's mostly held against him because it was at a young age, so it was assumed he'd be an all time great. Nobody complains about a good player whose one superst season is at 32 rather than 22.

2. Left the team he came up with to sign a big contract elsewhere, which has been happening in sport (and being complained about by the same fans who would joyously welcome any free agent signed by their team to a big contract) basically for ever.

In terms of his behaviour generally, he seems fine.
   3. Sunday silence Posted: November 06, 2019 at 06:13 AM (#5899007)
He's been tossed oot of several games for throwing his helmet and maybe his bat? He seems very intense and I don't hink he's been tossed much recently
   4. Rennie's Tenet Posted: November 06, 2019 at 07:27 AM (#5899010)
The story should be about how Rizzo took the risk of paying the price for Harper as a kid, then had Soto and Robles ready so he didn't have to give Harper the moon.
   5. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:04 AM (#5899012)
Does Harper have any particular reputation for obnoxiousness?

That's a clown question, bro.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:18 AM (#5899017)
Over his Washington tenure his reputation also gradually shifted from "this kid hustles like Pete Rose" to "look at this entitled douche bag."
   7. Sunday silence Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:27 AM (#5899020)
He's misunderstood cause no one calculates rBaseR correctly
   8. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:34 AM (#5899022)
It's not Harper's play on the field so much as his plastic public persona.

To wit: he posted a home video of his brother (baseball player Brian Harper) and himself getting ready for their day in front of the bathroom vanity, drying their hair with one of those hot air guns, and having a presumably brotherly spat over something stupid. It turns out it was a "viral video" to sucker you into buying whatever hair product he was hawking that week. Just about everything Harper does publicly involves promoting some product or another. Like he didn't have enough money even before signing with the Phillies. I'm sure if he signed a ball or a photo for you he would use his own particular pen that he is promoting and give it to you along with the memorabilia. He "longs to see the Liberty Bell" because he's just such a student of history. Sure, buddy. Shallow, plastic, disingenuous.

But you have to admit that it was pretty sweet when he made that Freudian slip during his big showy introduction to Phillies fans last Spring when he declared, "We just want to bring a title back to D.C...." so all is forgiven! Thanks, Bryce!!
   9. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: November 06, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5899027)
I think it's a couple of things:

1. He and Trout were billed as being the next kings of baseball. Trout turned out to be on another planet and Harper has been just an above-average slugger.

2. Unless I'm unaware of some kind of tragedy in his life, he's never really suffered and struggled to achieve anything. His childhood was dedicated to baseball, he was anointed a baseball prodigy at a very young age, became a multimillionaire at age 18, made the big leagues by age 19, and had $330MM dropped in his lap at age 26.

Altogether, it makes him very easy to dislike.
   10. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:15 AM (#5899033)
Does Harper have any particular reputation for obnoxiousness?

That's a clown question, bro.


His use of "bro" in & of itself answers that question "yes."
   11. filihok Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5899041)
Given what I know about Harper and what I know about random people having taeks about him online, I'll take Harper every single time.
   12. salvomania Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:51 AM (#5899042)
To wit: he posted a home video of his brother (baseball player Brian Harper)

I had no idea Harper had a brother who's a professional baseball player (note: it's "Bryan," not "Brian).

Even though the brother, a pitcher, is almost three years older than Bryce, he was drafted by the Nationals in 2011, one year after Bryce. (He was also originally drafted by the Nats after high school in 2008---Bryce would've just finished his sophomore year---but chose to go to college.)
   13. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5899043)
note: it's "Bryan," not "Brian

I never even entertained the possibility that it was spelled with an i.
   14. manchestermets Posted: November 06, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5899069)
So, he gave a possibly less than 100% respectful answer to what *was* a clown question, seven years ago when he was 19, and then he had the audacity to accept a valuable contract that was freely offered to him. The evidence that he's a monster seems less than complete.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:04 AM (#5899074)
You're moving the goalposts, manchestermets. Nobody said he's a monster, just that he's obnoxious. And it's not like something we just invented here, if JT Realmuto is addressing his poor reputation publicly.
   16. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5899076)

You're moving the goalposts, manchestermets. Nobody said he's a monster, just that he's obnoxious. And it's not like something we just invented here, if JT Realmuto is addressing his poor reputation publicly.


That's true, I mean he did wear eye black in a rather unacceptable manner.

I like hating on Bryce, because I like sports hating on a few people. My grumpy attitude stems from being a Mookie fan - Harper was seen as better, when he shouldn't have been. Now that it's pretty clear to most everyone that Betts is better than Harper, I sorta don't care about Bryce any more.

The examples given in this thread are less than stellar reasons to see him as obnoxious, but obviously I have a rather petty attitude towards him as well, so you know, stone houses and such.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:16 AM (#5899081)
That's true, I mean he did wear eye black in a rather unacceptable manner.


A practice now taken up by legitimate douche Baker Mayfield, who wears it during night games.

Harper strikes me a little like Arod. He seems like he's a decent guy who can't avoid mildly, though repeatedly, embarrassing himself in the process.

   18. Lassus Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5899082)
Harper strikes me a little like Arod.

This would have never occurred to me. They seem like entirely different personalities.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5899084)
I mean Harper is just kind of a dick head. He just is. Just look at him.

As for his "crimes," apparently he leads the majors in ejections, by far, since making the majors. He gets in fights. He's had high-profile laziness issues. He's made a bunch of stupid, arrogant statements. Other players obviously dislike him.

It's not fair that he gets saddled with the "best prospect ever" expectations, and that he was seen as the embodiment of the talented-but-disappointing Nats of so many years. This plays into it. But this all starts with the guy just being a dick.
   20. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5899087)
ARod seems like a nice and decent guy that's just kind of weird and awkward and his celebrity unfortunately magnifies his weirdness. Harper seems like an intense, arrogant, annoying human that I wouldn't want to spend any time with, ever.
   21. Blastin Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5899090)
I think the issue is, he has been obnoxious (partially his fault), overrated (not really his fault), highly paid (but not really overpaid in terms of value), but by some he is treated/seen as worse than the actual genuine scumbags around the league, which is not just.

I wouldn't want to be his friend, but... I don't need to.

As for A-Rod, A-Rod is a try-hard with poor social skills (which I can relate to, deeply) who did unethical things at times (things that are not good, but that I can't say I would never have done).

I don't see him as similar to Harper at all. Harper was definitely never a social try-hard.
   22. JL72 Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5899093)
then he had the audacity to accept a valuable contract that was freely offered to him.


The Nats have done a great PR job in DC of making the public believe that they made a real offer and Harper took just a bit more money to move. WHat is ignored time and time again is that the deferrals on that offer greatly reduced the value. Yes, Harper took more money, but it was for a lot more than the Nats want folks to believe.

Because of that, I think a lot of folks turned hard on Harper and are revising how they view him.
   23. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:39 AM (#5899094)
Other players obviously dislike him.

Assuming this is sarcasm. But other than Papelbon (which is an obvious point in Harper's favor), has he mixed it up with any other players? Was he not liked in the Washington clubhouse?
   24. Blastin Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5899097)
But other than Papelbon (which is an obvious point in Harper's favor)


Yeah that's definitely one reason I can't fully and deeply hate him.
   25. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5899099)
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5899101)
I'm betting Harper doesn't repeatedly win this poll in a landslide if he's considered a good guy.


Just as Arod repeatedly won polls like that.

To me, they both seem like guys who are disliked by their peers and public far in excess of anything they've done to warrant such disdain.

   27. Adam Starblind Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5899102)
So, he gave a possibly less than 100% respectful answer to what *was* a clown question.


Indeed--the reporter had just asked him, a Mormon teenager, what kind of beer he was going to drink in Toronto.

And I think people liked "that's a clown question, bro." At least in DC, people thought it was kind of endearing and repeated it often.
   28. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: November 06, 2019 at 11:58 AM (#5899104)
At least in DC, people thought it was kind of endearing and repeated it often.


It's DC. Consider the competition. "Kind of endearing" was a really, really low bar.
   29. Adam Starblind Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5899110)

It's DC. Consider the competition. "Kind of endearing" was a really, really low bar.


I mean, there are several million of us in the DC metropolitan area.

   30. The Duke Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5899127)
Harper is likely to be a hall of famer. He’s at 30 WAR at 27. So worst case he ends up about 65-70. He could end up at 85-90.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5899129)
So worst case he ends up about 65-70.


That's definitely not the worst case.

   32. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:38 PM (#5899133)
I think that a realistic pessimistic but not crazily pessimistic "worst case" sees him maintain a 4 WAR rate until he's 31 or so, and then a serious decline. That would put him at ~50-55 WAR. It could be much worse than that obviously, players fall apart all the time.
   33. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5899136)
I mean, there are several million of us in the DC metropolitan area.


So anything short of convincingly confessing to serial torture & murder could conceivably be considered "kind of endearing" by somebody. Got it.
   34. Kurt Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5899137)
Assuming this is sarcasm. But other than Papelbon (which is an obvious point in Harper's favor), has he mixed it up with any other players?


Cole Hamels throwing at him during his rookie year I think falls under other players disliking him.

That said, I agree with SoSH U that Harper is disliked wildly out of proportion to anything he's actually said or done.
   35. Blastin Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5899138)
So worst case he ends up about 65-70.


Worst non-catastrophic-injury case is he's a 3 WAR guy for several years and then declines.
   36. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:54 PM (#5899141)

I think that a realistic pessimistic but not crazily pessimistic "worst case" sees him maintain a 4 WAR rate until he's 31 or so, and then a serious decline. That would put him at ~50-55 WAR. It could be much worse than that obviously, players fall apart all the time.


Putting up 4 WAR seasons on a year by year basis would in no way be pessimistic for Harper. Including his monster 2015 he has averaged 4 WAR a season for his career. Calling his average pessimistic is exactly one of the reasons people don't like him - he is overrated.
   37. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:56 PM (#5899142)
People are free to dislike professional athletes for any flimsy reason they want, as this thread amply demonstrates, but claiming that fan-boy hate reflects poorly on the professional athlete, rather than the haters, misses the mark.
   38. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: November 06, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5899143)
that fan-boy hate reflects poorly on the professional athlete, rather than the haters, misses the mark.


How about that O.J. Simpson?

Edit: Unfair, I know. Rather more than mere "fan-boy" hate is directed at that guy by most halfway intelligent individuals.
   39. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: November 06, 2019 at 01:05 PM (#5899147)
With Harper if he had been 29 this past season instead of 26 his career kind of makes more sense. Maybe he's really from the Dominican Republic?
   40. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: November 06, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5899172)
Cole Hamels throwing at him during his rookie year I think falls under other players disliking him.

"Hyped, cocky rookie getting thrown at" doesn't really show he's generally disliked. Repeatedly winning the most overrated title from your peers might be, though that could be just professional jealousy. I'm more interested in whether he was liked in the Nationals' clubhouse by the guys who played with him for several years.
   41. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: November 06, 2019 at 02:41 PM (#5899185)
Assuming this is sarcasm. But other than Papelbon (which is an obvious point in Harper's favor), has he mixed it up with any other players? Was he not liked in the Washington clubhouse?

There was an anonymous Nats player who, during the impending Harper free agent mania of 2018, said something along the lines of "It's tough to show these young guys how to play The Right Way™ when guys are allowed to lollygag down to first base" and other words to that effect. The target was almost certainly Harper since he had recently engendered a lot of discussion about not running out a play; the player quoted might've been Zim or noted clubhouse secret agent Brandon Kintzler, no one knows for sure.

Look, heroes need villains. There's nothing wrong with fans disliking Harper for whatever flimsy reason they want. It's all an act anyway: Harper acts on the grassy fields, the fans act in the stands and on Internet discussion boards. He can be the East Coast version of Mike Trout on the field and fans can still dislike him for other stuff, just like Osuna and Chapman (in style, not degree of shittiness).
   42. pikepredator Posted: November 06, 2019 at 03:12 PM (#5899191)
References to Osuna, OJ, and Chapman are making me think I'm failing to understand what people are posting about, or missing some subtext.

Sure, Harper is brash and cocky. He has been highly regarded to the point of being overrated because he was an outstanding, athletic teen-age prospect who delivered a monster year among other inconsistent years. Now he strikes out and hits bombs.

He's a modern-day Reggie Jackson . . . perhaps a cartoonish WWF-style villian, but not someone who deserves to be actively Hated, IMO.

   43. Blastin Posted: November 06, 2019 at 03:28 PM (#5899195)
perhaps a cartoonish WWF-style villian, but not someone who deserves to be actively Hated, IMO.


He's a heel, basically, but not a scumbag.
   44. pikepredator Posted: November 06, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5899199)
He's a heel, basically, but not a scumbag.


I'm not a Harper or a Nationals fan but yeah, sounds right.

This is pretty cool.

   45. Blastin Posted: November 06, 2019 at 03:36 PM (#5899202)
He's sort of the "fun to boo" level, not the "I would rather he were removed from the game" level of the violent miscreants lurking around the league.
   46. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 06, 2019 at 03:51 PM (#5899205)
Whether Harper lollygagged in the past or not, I don’t know. But this past year was all hustle on his part, as far as I saw. People do mature.
   47. Lars6788 Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:01 PM (#5899209)
   48. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:14 PM (#5899215)
That's definitely not the worst case.


Fine, the worst case is that he's Patient Zero on a pandemic that ultimately eradicates all of human civilization. Happy?
   49. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5899216)
He's a modern-day Reggie Jackson . . .


I haven't seen anything to indicate that Harper is even half as much of a dick as Reggie was.
   50. PreservedFish Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5899219)
He's sort of the "fun to boo" level, not the "I would rather he were removed from the game" level of the violent miscreants lurking around the league.


Agreed.
   51. Lassus Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:29 PM (#5899221)
So worst case he ends up about 65-70.

That's definitely not the worst case.
This is why I come to this website.
   52. Adam Starblind Posted: November 06, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5899230)
He's sort of the "fun to boo" level, not the "I would rather he were removed from the game" level of the violent miscreants lurking around the league.


Unfortunately, there are probably violent miscreants (great word) lurking in all of our offices.
   53. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: November 06, 2019 at 05:45 PM (#5899244)
Our mothers' basements breed monsters.
   54. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 06, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5899246)
Well I think he's great for baseball. Baseball needs guys who are showy and come across as arrogant. I think he'll have another 8+WAR season in the next couple of years but will continue to be inconsistent by sandwiching that around some 4 WAR seasons.

Examples cited above like Hamels throwing at the hot shot rookie or getting into a stoush with noted ######### Papelbon are things that make me want to watch him play.

Would I be good mates with him, probably not, but I don't really know him and given a chance I think he'd be a hoot to hang with for a few beers one night.

I don't boo anyone, only cheer on my guys. Though it is always nice to see horrible individuals like Chapman and Osuna get burned on the diamond.
   55. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: November 06, 2019 at 06:19 PM (#5899248)
reasons why people hate harper:

women: his gaudy mascara.
traditionalists: his eyeblack extends more than .625 inches below his cheekbones.
gay men: he wears a scarf in the summer.
old people: he's a millennial.
young people: he plays baseball.
indians: he can't even hit the ball when it doesn't bounce
   56. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: November 06, 2019 at 06:21 PM (#5899250)
also:

harper enjoys playing baseball and alot of the people who like baseball tend to hate the people who truly enjoy it.
   57. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 06, 2019 at 06:25 PM (#5899251)
I, on the other hand, like him (but then, I always liked Arod, so there's that)
   58. jingoist Posted: November 06, 2019 at 06:44 PM (#5899255)
As aNats fan, I am thrilled that he left.
We have an outfield that will cost us about $11M next year versus $35M+ had he resigned with us.
Our outfield suffered no demonstrably large deficit in dWar this past year without him.
We did have a better team chemistry that enabled us to win a WS.
He was good for DC, like having Jayson Werth come here about 10 years ago; it validated the desire of the Lerners to build a competitive team.
I trust we will use the money we would have spent on Bryce keeping Strasburg/Rendon here or spread it around to Kendricks and Cabrerra/Turner/ others.
Thanks for your time in DC Bryce, I wish you a happy and fulfilling life.
That you chose Philadelphia I am thrilled as that $330M won’t be available to build a strong contender, and who really wants any Philly team to do well.
   59. calming him down with his 57i66135 Posted: November 06, 2019 at 06:55 PM (#5899256)
who really wants any Philly team to do well.

mike trout.
   60. Hank Gillette Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:08 PM (#5899269)
Cole Hamels throwing at him during his rookie year I think falls under other players disliking him.


I think that says a lot more about Hamels than Harper.

What was cool that after Hamels deliberately hit Harper, Harper took his base, went to third on a single, then stole home.

I am not particularly sorry that the Nats did not sign Harper, but I bear him no ill will for taking a higher offer from the Phillies. Why wouldn’t he do that?
   61. Kurt Posted: November 06, 2019 at 09:27 PM (#5899273)
I think that says a lot more about Hamels than Harper.


I do too.

The discussion was about whether other players disliked Harper, not whether Harper was/is unlikeable. And yes, Harper's response to that was perfect.
   62. Esoteric Posted: November 06, 2019 at 10:46 PM (#5899297)
Tom Boswell has commented on this question ("was Harper a clubhouse cancer?") several times in his various online chats for WaPo (few sportswriters are going to be better sourced on this question than him), and his consistent answer was "no, he was not." But he does also go to pains to add that Harper's departure improved the clubhouse vibe, despite him not personally being a jerk, because he inevitably was something of a media black hole, sucking in all the coverage towards himself and becoming the inescapable focus and center of attention.

That take has the ring of truth to me.
   63. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:09 AM (#5899319)
As aNats fan, I am thrilled that he left.
We have an outfield that will cost us about $11M next year versus $35M+ had he resigned with us.
Our outfield suffered no demonstrably large deficit in dWar this past year without him.
We did have a better team chemistry that enabled us to win a WS.
He was good for DC, like having Jayson Werth come here about 10 years ago; it validated the desire of the Lerners to build a competitive team.
I trust we will use the money we would have spent on Bryce keeping Strasburg/Rendon here or spread it around to Kendricks and Cabrerra/Turner/ others.
Thanks for your time in DC Bryce, I wish you a happy and fulfilling life.
That you chose Philadelphia I am thrilled as that $330M won’t be available to build a strong contender, and who really wants any Philly team to do well.


I feel all this, but I was a bit sad to win without him. I went to his first game in DC, I still remember where I was when he stole home off Hamels.

He was my son's first favorite player, and it was just an absolute joy to watch him discover baseball through Harper's 2015. That will forever remain one of my favorite seasons even though the Nats did not do all that well because it was an absolute joy to watch my son get so into it. He still does Harper's pre-at bat plate taps before he hits.
   64. Bug Selig Posted: November 07, 2019 at 07:18 AM (#5899320)
Baker Mayfield, who wears it during night games.
Glare from lights is a real thing.
   65. Bote Man sez Davey is MoY Posted: November 07, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5899471)
I went to his first game in DC, I still remember where I was when he stole home off Hamels.

I'm glad you followed Charlie's advice!
   66. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 05:43 PM (#5899569)
It's not fair that he gets saddled with the "best prospect ever" expectations

He wouldn't have gotten a $330 million contract without that, though. Tough life.

He's sort of the "fun to boo" level, not the "I would rather he were removed from the game" level of the violent miscreants lurking around the league.

Yeah, I agree with this.

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