This might be the finest piece of investigative journalism you’ll read this year.
Look, please just wait until the end of this article before you hand me a Pulitzer, ok? But I may have just unearthed the biggest scoop of the 2018-2019 MLB offseason. Obviously the biggest question on the mind of everyone in St. Louis is, “Why doesn’t Fredbird wear pants?” but a close second is, “Where will Bryce Harper sign?”
Well, I believe today we may have been given our answer.
Bryce Harper was named the cover athlete for MLB The Show ’19 this morning. However, since he’s obviously a free agent, he’s not wearing a jersey on the cover. At least not yet. But, if you take a closer look, you’ll see there are clues as to where he’s leaning on signing.
Let’s dig in.
Obviously, he’s holding his bat, but what is that underneath in his palm?
Oh my gahhh… It’s a toasted ravioli! Ok, just try to breathe. That could mean anything. I’m sure Pablo Sandoval carries around food everywhere he goes too, and it’s not like Kung Fu Panda is signing with the Cardinals. So let’s just take this with a grain of salt… and bowl of marinara dipping sauce.
Let’s move on.
If you zoom in on the MLB logo, you’ll notice the red part is different than usual.
OH SNAP! That’s the St. Louis city flag! Why would they do that? Wait… is the MLB logo usually like that? Or is this just another National Treasure-type clue hinting at the fact that Bryce will end up in the 314? I’m not sure, just yet. But stay calm, and let’s continue to dig in to other clues.
Look, sometimes on covers of video games, you’ll see guys rock the apparel of their sponsors. Like if an athlete is sponsored by Nike, you’ll see him wearing Nike shoes or sweatbands. Same for UnderArmor. Or Adidas. Or FILA… Lol, jk. No one on a video game cover is endorsed by FILA. However, if you look closely at Bryce’s windbreaker, you’ll clearly see a sponsor.
Wow. I don’t know how I missed this upon first glance at the video game cover. Maybe because the title of the game was covering it up, but I’m pretty sure that’s an IMO’s Pizza windbreaker he’s rocking. And I’m pretty sure you can only get an IMO’s windbreaker if you’re sponsored by IMO’s. That’s why you only ever see David Freese and Jayson Tatum rocking them. Well, them and Bryce NOW, apparently. Wow. This is big. But not the be-all and end-all we’re looking for. Because clearly Tatum plays in Boston, and he still endorses the square beyond compare.
So let’s continue…
DAAAAAANG! Those are birds. And they’re on a bat. You know who else has birds on a bat? The Cardinals. That’s gotta be a sign, right? It’s kind of like right before Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, he was hanging around Christopher Lloyd and Joseph Gordon-Levitt a lot.
I mean, I can’t believe I didn’t see them sitting there before I zoomed in and enhanced the photo! This thing is like a freaking Magic Eye. The more you look at it, the more things appear.
Are there any more clues?
Upon first glance, you may have noticed something on Bryce’s face? But what is it exactly?
Shimmy shimmy cocoa WHAAAAAT?! That’s a bandaid! Just like the kind Nelly wears! And we all know Nelly is from the Lou and he’s proud. Dang. Now granted, maybe that’s just a bandaid from a facial injury. I mean, he’s injured his face before. So, again, it’s not the definitive proof that he’s coming here. It could still be only Just A Dream.
Let’s keep searching.
I didn’t see this at first, but if you look closely, there’s one or two people standing right behind Bryce.
OH SNAP! IS THAT BROWN & BROWN ATTORNEY’S AT LAW?! Look, we know those two guys will help you with a cash settlement with your employer if you’ve been hurt on a job – AND LIKE WE JUST SAID, BRYCE HAS! – but maybe now they’re helping Bryce with a cash contract with whatever he teams he signs with. And Brown & Brown specialize here in St. Louis, so maybe that means… no, I’m not going to get ahead of myself.
All I will say is at Brown & Brown, if you can’t come to them, they’ll come to you. Hopefully, that’s the same for Bryce & Bryce.
Let’s wrap this up with one final clue…
If you notice on the cover to the left, there is a list of things Bryce wants to accomplish in his career. Most of the items that he’s already accomplished have a line through them. But let’s look closer, what’s next up on his Career To Do List?
DOES THAT SAY SIGN WITH THE CARDINALS?! Ok… ok… keep cool. Keep. Cool. Maybe he’s making a career change, like Deion Sanders, and wants to sign with the Arizona Cardinals. Or MAYBE… JUST MAYBE… He wants to ink a deal with the ST. LOUIS MOTHER-BLEEPIN’ CARDINALS!
It’s settled then, I guess. Bryce Harper is going to be St. Louis Cardinal. Somebody tell Yairo Munoz to find a new number. That #34 is going to the 26-year-old future hall of famer.
You know how if they say, “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it must be a duck.” Well, same applies for Cardinals too. And the clues are all there. Honestly, all that’s missing is a backwards Arch Apparel hat and Bryce telling everyone what high school he went to.
Now, do I feel like Barbara Walters after unearthing some bombshell report? Sure. But really, I’d say more like Nic Cage after stealing the Declaration of Independence. I pieced together all the clues and found the truth behind baseball’s biggest mystery.
You’re welcome, St. Louis.
Follow Austin on Twitter here: @AustinHuff