Note: No actual news is contained in this item.
In the course of talking about a theoretical future Kris Bryant contract with the Cubs last week, Peter Gammons managed to cause a brief uproar about Bryce Harper.
“I have people tell me that Bryce Harper really would prefer to play for the Cubs,” Gammons said on a Chicago radio show, when asked how Harper’s next contract will affect Bryant’s future earnings. The veteran baseball analyst said a Bryant and Harper pairing was “a great idea” that he’d “love to see,” but also said that because of the insane dollar figures involved, he didn’t think Harper would ever sign with the Cubs.
And yet this being 2017, and this being the slowest sports moment of the year, those comments became a mild thing. There were pieces about this on SI.com (“Report: Bryce Harper has interest in Cubs”) and Sporting News (“Bryce Harper wants to be a Cub, Peter Gammons says”), in the D.C. market (“Peter Gammons: Bryce Harper has his eye set on another NL team”) and in the Atlanta market (“Bryce Harper reportedly wants to play for Cubs”) and in the Chicago market (“Could Bryce Harper don a Cubs uniform when he hits free agency”). Bryant was eventually asked about reuniting with his Vegas pal (“I think we might have talked about it, just like messing around … like, it would be cool to play with you again,” he said) and sure, why not imagine what Harper might look like in Cubs colors.
Which was apparently not what Gammons intended.
“That was very simplified; it was a Reader’s Digest version of the interview,” Gammons said Monday on the “Rich Eisen Show.” “The interview was about Kris Bryant. … [Harper] and Bryant grew up in Las Vegas so they know one another, they’re both great guys. And people say ‘Well, he would love to play for the Cubs,’ but I said they’re not going to be able to afford both guys, so probably it’ll never happen. But somehow that went into I said he wanted to play for the [Cubs].”
“I’m sure he would love to, in one way or another,” Gammons went on. “But I was trying to make the point that there are so many factors that go into who makes the most money or whatever, and it kind of gets forgotten after a while. I mean, I don’t think I can remember what Clayton Kershaw is making right now; just that he’s the best pitcher in the game. So that was the context of what was said.”
Probably the lesson for all of us is that no one exactly knows what Harper might do after 2018, and so the sanest course of action is not to bother speculating who heard what about which franchise and/or city and/or uniform color and/or gelato stand Harper is enticed by; and to put off the anxiety for at least another year, since whatever will be will be and time is a gift given to you; and seriously, if someone knew where Harper was going to play they would just report “this is where Harper is going to play” rather than making guesses; and really, turning an off-the-cuff radio remark into a headline is done not for edification or enlightenment but just to try to chase some cheap online page views.
“So what do you think Bryce Harper’s long-term play is when it all comes down to it?” Eisen then asked.
“If I were to guess one place, it would be the Yankees,” Gammons said, thereby creating the above headline. “Because they’re going to have so much money to spend at the time he’s out there. And there’s no doubt in my mind that Bryce could take the pressure of playing in New York. I mean, this guy was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16, was made out to be a divisive figure by the time he would have been a freshman in college — which, he wasn’t a divisive figure, but that’s the image, because he’s brash.
“But I think that he can handle New York, and I think that they would pay huge money. And by the time he would get there … I think two years from now when Gleyber Torres is there and a couple more kids come along, I think they’re going to be an absolute monster powerhouse for years. And add Harper to that, it could really be something. It’s a great investment because they could own the city, and we know that all the television ratings and attendance go with it. I think it would be a great pick.”
For this week, anyhow.