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Column

Harper should sign with the White Sox

Harper should sign with the White Sox

Anyone remember Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa?

The glorious 1998 season where both Major League Baseball players broke the 38-year-old single-season home run record by Roger Maris. Players like McGwire, Sosa, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. hitting at least 55 home runs regularly were what made me interested in baseball since I was 10 years old.

Obviously, we found out a significant cause of that was due to hitters taking performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that home runs are arguably the most exciting event of a baseball game.

And that is why, as a fan of Major League Baseball, I am hoping Bryce Harper signs with the Chicago White Sox. I want this even though I am a Detroit Tigers fan.

Imagine how many hitter-friendly ballparks Harper will get to play in with this team. Playing home games in U.S. Cellular Field is fine for home runs and is similar to where he used to play home games at Nationals Park, but you get to play a lot of games in Cleveland, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Houston and Arlington (until the Texas Rangers switch ballparks).

The American League also has many bad teams right now. Specifically, six of the 15 American League teams lost at least 89 games in 2018, which could indicate bad pitching more often for Harper to feast on.

Considering the White Sox appear to be the only American League team willing to sign a superstar, it may be his best chance to get into the American League and have a shot and some single-season home run records, which for me, as a fan, would be awesome.

Harper does seem to like attention (which I can relate to), but he sure does put an effort into trying to make the game fun. MLB needs that since these days it’s more about the business end and the evolution of saber metric statistics. Watching Harper charge the mound in San Francisco on Memorial Day 2017 made baseball fun for me to watch. Not to mention listening to him do an interview with broadcasters (with a headset on) literally while catching a fly ball during the 2018 MLB All-Star Game.

Watching Harper, a clean superstar, break Bonds’ single-season home run record of 73 would make baseball fun.

Realistically, he’s looking for a World Series ring, as he should. He’s also looking for a huge contract, which is obvious to any fan that hears the name Scott Boras associated with any MLB player. He’s also competing with another superstar Manny Machado for that contract.

Based on many players waiting until late into the off season to sign contracts, it’s looking like we won’t know where Harper will end up for a while. Superstar players are getting so expensive these days that teams would rather draft and trade for minor-league players, develop them and benefit from the successes of their rookie years while they’re still cheap and under team control.

Unlike other professional sports, MLB doesn’t have a salary cap. They tried in 1994, but the players went on strike, resulting in a canceled season.

I hear a rumor Harper’s agent and the White Sox owner don’t get along, so that deal most likely will not happen. But isn’t it fun to imagine?

Clown question, bro.

Contact Orrin Shawl at
oshawl@newtondailynews.com

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