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Hidden HTML Suggests Harper to Join Phillies

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Bryce Harper to the Philadelphia Phillies is picking up steam ahead of the two sides' meeting this weekend in Las Vegas.

MLB The Show — who will feature Harper on its 2019 cover — has been hinting in recent days that the two sides might ink a deal. Bob Nightengale, who famously reported to "bank" on the Phillies to land Harper this offseason, even said on Thursday on SportsRadio 94 WIP's High Hopes podcast that Harper joining the club is "more probable than ever before."   

The thought of Harper donning red pinstripes is becoming less of a fantasy and more of a reality in the minds throughout Major League Baseball, even the league's website itself.


Perusing through, I decided to "dig" into the HTML on Harper's player-specific biography/statistics page and search for all instances of "Phillies." Eight came up, with the first instance the following URL:,mlbcom08/10/JS-2.7.0/s72125145296859?AQB=1&ndh=1&pf=1&callback=s_c_il[1].doPostbacks&et=1&t=10%2F0%2F2019%2023%3A6%3A39%204%20300&d.&nsid=0&jsonv=1&.d&mid=55285812949186999792507156858389550381&aid=2C444DA505193090-4000060FA000773A&aamlh=7&ce=UTF-8&ns=mlb&pageName=Washington%20Nationals%3A%20Team%3A%20Player%20Information&"

Interestingly enough, the Nationals and Phillies are jointly featured in the URL. "Philadelphia Phillies" and "Active Roster" also appear later on in the link, which redirects you to a blank, dark page.


Checking Mike Trout's page to see if this was just a "fluke," instances of "Phillies" only revealed callbacks to site menu headers for each specific team. Harper has such HTML as well for every team, but Trout does not have the "Active Roster"/Phillies-specific URL on his player page.


Like Trout's page, Machado's begins with the same generic "Phillies" instance that contains sourcing to the site header. Machado has been targeting by the club much longer than Harper, dating back to last July's deadline. The HTML on Machado's page contains no specific "Active Roster"/Phillies URL.


Now, Rhys Hoskins, who is currently a Phillie. The HTML on his bio contains the same "Philadelphia%20Phillies%3A%20Roster%3A%20Active%20Roster" HTML line as does Harper's.

Could this all be coincidence? Yes, but website operators typically like to prepare and build out their site and URLs before major signings, especially that of which may come during off-hours on the weekend -- this Saturday when Harper and the Phillies meet.

Harper appears more likely than ever to be a Phillie in 2019, and this clue left within's website HTML is just the latest indication of that.


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