Will Nats sign Bryce Harper?
As the clock ticks toward the midnight deadline, I'm guessing they will sign him at the last minute, but as with the drama over signing Stephen Strasburg last year, I'm not going to get all worked up about it either way. Bryce Harper has generated lots of buzz about being as good a slugger as Mickey Mantle, but how on earth can anyone know how well he will play once he reaches the majors? Speaking of Strasburg, he had a rather blunt comment about Harper (via MLB.com:
If he doesn't want to play here, then we don't want him here -- bottom line. We want guys who want to play on this team. It's really important.
It's ironic, given that Strasburg was in the same situation last year, holding out for the best deal he could get. What's going on? Two words: Scott Boras. In today's Washington Post, Thomas Boswell ponders the growing influence that the super-agent has on baseball in general, and the Nationals in particular. Boras represents Strasburg as well as Pudge Rodriguez, and apparently, he was part of the reason that former GM Jim Bowden was essentially fired in March 2009. Boswell also mentions that Boras is on less cordial terms with Nationals president Stan Kasten and reveals something about the Nats' manager that's news to me: "Riggleman was Boras's minor league roommate once when they were both with the St. Louis Cardinals and Boras speaks highly of his managing skill." Very interesting. Boswell concludes with a very good reason why he thinks the Harper deal will get done: "Nobody on either side wants to turn the Boras-Nats relationship into a nightmare."
At MLB.com, Bill Ladson points out that, as of this morning, 16 of the 50 players the Nationals drafted this year remained unsigned. So, Harper is not alone among the holdouts.
Finally, David Pinto writes: "The best deal for each side comes at the last minute."
Metrodome* photos, etc.
While I was busy updating the Metrodome page with two of the photos I took while in Minneapolis two weeks ago (one panorama and one closeup of the southeast Gate D), I got carried away and came up with a new diagram for an expanded football-only version. Mike Zurawski thinks that's a complete waste of time, since a "bandaid renovation" of the Metrodome wouldn't be worth it, and he's probably right. But at least it's something to contemplate.
* It is now called "Mall of America Field."
California football news
Mike also sent me news about the latest stadium maneuverings in California. In San Diego, the City Council agreed to fund a study of a new stadium for the Chargers near Petco Park, and in Santa Clara, voters approved a $114 million to help build a new stadium for the "San Francisco" 49ers. And in Los Angeles, the billionaire who has been promoting an $800 million football stadium in City of Industry, Ed Roski Jr., has hired public relations consultant Ben Porritt, who worked on the John McCain presidential campaign in 2008. He might solicit the Chargers, 49ers, Raiders, Rams, Bills, Jaguars, or Vikings to play in (or near) L.A. See signonsandiego.com. For a look at the breathtakingly innovative design at the latter site, see losangelesfootballstadium.com.
There's much more material in my mail bag, so stay tuned...