Bryce Harper in “Live” BP was the fan’s highlight today!

Feb. 21, 2018

It seems any day Bryce Harper does anything special early in Spring Training the fans get excited. Yesterday he was struck out by Sean Doolittle. Today he got to face Max Scherzer.

When Tanner Roark walked out of the clubhouse this a.m. to head to the Circle of Trust, I overheard him being asked about how the extra hair is working out with the Florida heat and humidity.  Sounded as if he was considering trimming his hair, but not his beard.  Let’s keep a close eye on that throughout spring training: once he gets to DC, he may need that facial fur in April.

The groups split up: here’s the group of pitchers having their own circle on field 5.  Appears that a handful of the players come into the center to tell a personal story, as I overheard Max talking about meeting his daughter.  “I come into the nursery, and there are 24 screaming kids.  There’s one over in the corner who’s really quiet:  Yep, she’s mine!”

Then it was time for pitchers “dancing” practice.  OK, in the case of Gio Gonzalez, it was literally dancing practice, because as soon as a song with good rhythm played, he’s be dancing instead of following the trainer.  He broke into the Macarena, and then Doolittle did it too.

Spoke to Derek Lilliquist’s uncle at the fence:  He’s glad Lilliquist got the “step up” to join the Nats.

Joaquin Benoit and Enny Romero started their long toss with a softball, then switched to a regular baseball.

Baserunning drills and infield drills took place on four fields.  Anthony Rendon missed an easy grounder.  His coaches and teammates yelled “no one saw that.”  Infield practice included barehanded grounders and throw to first, as well as “runner on third, throw to home” drills with the pitchers. FWIW, Koda Glover’s “fake” throw motion to start the plays looked more natural today than a few days ago.

Max Scherzer vs. Bryce Harper was a real draw.  Austin Voth and Trevor Gott pitching to Trea Turner, Tony & Zim?  Not so much. And if it’s Bryan Harper pitching to Rafael Bautista?  Well, you can have the place to yourself.

Daniel Murphy can’t stay away:  here he is explaining the state of his knee to his teammates.

Michael Taylor did manage a couple of bunts up the third base line, but the bunting game is not strong with these guys. I haven’t yet seen a bunting drill, which is a bit of disappointment, since that’s usually good for laughs and a few flying baseballs.

I swear I heard Adam Eaton clang one off one of the poles at the back of the field during batting practice.

Spent some time watching Chip Hale watch the up-and-comers (Victor Robles, Andrew Stevenson, Rafael Bautista, Spencer Kieboom). Swear I heard Kieboom answer a question with “Officially, I’m a catcher.” Hmmm.  Wonder what he is unofficially?

On the way to lunch, we spotted this.  No baseball connection, but it’s too weird to miss!

P.S.  And if that wasn’t enough, I met Ron back at the hotel.  Why would anyone care who Ron is?  Well, he was at the longest game in history: the Pawtucket Red Sox.  Bottom of the 33rd is the book, and well worth the read.

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