We make every effort possible to avoid anything political here on FBB, knowing (or hoping?) that talking Washington Nationals baseball here can provide a brief respite for some (many) in D.C. whose jobs are in politics.
We also want to avoid the usual vitriolic back-and-forth bickering associated with most political discussions, cause who likes vitriol, right?
When someone drops a "Clown question, bro," quote though, and brings that Bryce Harper-gold line back out again, however, it's impossible for us to ignore. [ed. note - "Define 'impossible', bro?"]
In case you've somehow forgotten: A young Bryce Harper, during his first road trip to Toronto, Canada as a major leaguer in 2012, was asked if he would take the opportunity to enjoy an alcoholic beverage since he could legally drink while visiting America's neighbor to the north where the drinking age is 19 years old.
"That’s a clown question, bro," Harper responded, dismissing the reporter's inquiry and in the process launching a catchphrase/hashtag/t-shirt empire.
Two-plus years later, White House press spokesman Josh Earnest revived the response on Monday when a reporter wondered if the current U.S. President actually calls British Prime Minister David Cameron "bro"?
"'That’s a clown question, bro,'" Mr. Earnest responded, according to Wall Street Journal reporter Byron Tau, "before adding that he was joking."
Sorry, but this is the kind of intro to the links you get when the biggest story of the day in NatsTown involves a "land swap" in Florida that might finally lead to the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros getting that new shared Spring Training home they've been after for a few years.
You can read all about that bit of news below and by starting this post with Harper-related news, we were able to avoid having to care about said "land swap"... plenty of detail on that news follows...
LAND SWAP!!! Nats/Astros Spring Training Home Update:
• "A private developer has withdrawn plans for a mixed-use project on the same 160-acre site where the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros want to build a $135 million baseball complex." - "West Palm Beach, county to cooperate on baseball land swap" - Joe Capozzi, www.palmbeachpost.com
• "Now, after persuading taxpayers in Palm Beach County to agree to fund $108 million of a $135 million stadium the Nationals will share with the Houston Astros, the breakup is just about official." - "Nationals leaving Brevard has been one long breakup" - John A. Torres, Floriday Today
• "West Palm Beach will negotiate a land swap with Palm Beach County for 160 acres of land targeted for a joint training facility for the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals..." - "West Palm Beach Mayor clears path for new Nationals’ training facility" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "The Washington Nationals’ hopes for a new spring training site in West Palm Beach, Fla. improved significantly on Monday..." - "Nats take step towards leaving Viera spring site for West Palm Beach" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "The Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros are grateful to the City of West Palm Beach for their willingness to open negotiations with Palm Beach County to secure a spring training facility site." - "Progress made with plan for ST site in Palm Beach County" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
WHO DROPPED THAT Q-TIP AND DIDN'T PICK IT UP?!?!?!?:
• "[Leonsis] and Washington Nationals co-owner Mark Lerner have a little bit of a friendly competition, Leonsis said..." - "Ted Leonsis, Mark Lerner and the Nats Park Q-tip" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post
• "Kasey McKeon, one of the Nationals' best evaluators gave [Joe Ross] the strongest recommendation to Nats GM Mike Rizzo. Ross' ETA probably is September 2016." - "Five lesser-known prospects traded this offseason" - Jim Bowden, ESPN
Rizzo not done, say Boz:
• "Getting Trea Turner for Sousa was nice for the future. But I'd be amazed if Rizzo doesn't do something more noteworthy." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
Where are they now? Josh Smoker:
• "A former first-round draft pick by the Washington Nationals, Smoker was acquired by the Aviators through the Frontier League Draft in 2014 and the team has picked up his option for the 2015 season." - "Aviators Sign Players From 2014 Team" - Scott Leber, MyStateline.com
You can't have Rizzo, Toronto!:
• "Besides Duquette and Williams, the names of Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan have surfaced as possible successors to Beeston." -"Bob Elliott's 101 most influential Canadians in baseball" - Bob Elliott, Toronto Sun
NL EAST UPDATES: Smoltz a HOFer?; Mr. Hand; Piazza, NY Catcher; Howard's block list
• Phillies: "According to Jerry Crasnick, Under the terms of Howard's five-year, $125 million contract with the Phillies, he can block trades to 20 teams." - "MLB hot stove: Phillies' Ryan Howard can block trade to 20 teams report says" - Matt Lombardo, NJ.com
• Mets: "Mike Piazza and the rest of the Hall of Fame candidates will learn their election fates at 2 p.m. Tuesday." - "Mike Piazza slips as verdict day arrives" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York
• Braves: "Smoltz would join Maddux and Glavine in the Hall. The trio of pitchers played together on the Braves under Cox's tutelage for 10 seasons." - "2015 Hall of Fame class set to be unveiled today" - Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com
• Marlins: "Here at Fish Stripes, we were quick to point out that Brad Hand's second-half performance in 2014 was not necessarily something to be proud of." - "Brad Hand's brand new sinker" - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes