CLEARWATER, Fla. — After the Phillie Phanatic warmed up the small Spectrum Field crowd, before Scott Boras evoked some friendly groans by saluting the new “Philadelphia Harp-monic,” a blazer-clad John Middleton sat in the blazing sun Saturday afternoon and smiled.
“Does it look like stupid money to you?” the Phillies’ managing partner asked.
To Middleton’s left sat Bryce Harper, the proud new owner of a record-setting, 13-year, $330 million contract to leave the rival Nationals for the City of Brotherly Love. News broke of the agreement on Thursday afternoon, and the Phillies sold 100,000 tickets for this season Thursday and 80,000 Friday, with another 40,000 anticipated on Saturday, Middleton said at this press conference to introduce his new jewel.
No, it did not look like stupid money, not at all, given Harper’s vast talents, his youth (he turned 26 in October), and his dynamic personality. Maybe it’ll go south the way so many of these mega-deals do, yet unlike the Yankees or Mets, I’m betting on Bryce.
And given where Harper landed, geographically and divisionally, both New York clubs will get to see up close whether they goofed in passing on Harper.
“From Day 1, when I got drafted [in 2010], it was all about, ‘He’s going to the Yankees. He’s going to the Dodgers. He’s going here, he’s going there,’ ” Harper said. “ ‘After six years, he’s going there.’ That’s all anyone wanted to talk about.