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Phillies manager Gabe Kapler learned of Bryce Harper signing from an unlikely source

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
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As word of Bryce Harper's record $13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies quickly spread Thursday afternoon, some pretty important people were temporarily kept in the dark.

Those important people just happened to be the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Harper's new teammates and coaching staff were busy tending to Grapefruit League business against the Baltimore Orioles when the franchise-changing news initially broke. That meant they were among the last people at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Fla. to learn of Harper’s signing.

In some instances, including that of manager Gabe Kapler, the news was actually broken by some very unlikely sources: The fans.

According to Kapler, several fans behind the Phillies dugout were providing minute-by-minute updates as the details of Harper’s deal were reported. But there was still some hesitation on his part to believe everything he was hearing.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“We had some fans behind us who were sharing moment by moment tweets with us,” Gabe Kapler said after the game. “Literally four fans right behind where we were sitting were telling us terms and who was tweeting what. We were like ‘Who is making the reports?’ We had to make sure that this person is credible.”

Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler (right) relied on the fans to get information on Bryce Harper's signing. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler (right) relied on the fans to get information on Bryce Harper's signing. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By the end of Philadelphia’s 5-5 tie against Baltimore, it was clear a deal had been reached. But Kapler still wasn’t quite ready to make anything official when addressing the media.

“If Bryce Harper were to be a part of our lineup, the sky’s the limit for him,” Kapler said. “There’s really no ceiling. We saw what he could do in 2015, arguably one of the best seasons of the last 20 seasons at the plate. Citizens Bank Park is kind of tailor-made for him. If the reports are true and Bryce Harper is a Phillie, we’d be really excited because of the damage he can do in that ballpark.”

Relax, skipper. You got your man. Follow Jake Arrieta’s lead and celebrate.

Elsewhere in the Phillies clubhouse, there was a clear sense of relief. Not just because Philadelphia signed a six-time All-Star away from the division rival Washington Nationals, while also beating offers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, but because they’d no longer have to answer questions about what Harper might or might not do.

“It’s good to not answer the questions anymore,” Phillies ace Aaron Nola said. “It’s exciting. It’s really exciting for all of us. He’s a superstar. Our team is already better without him. But now that we got him, it takes it up a notch.”

Nola is referencing the four other All-Stars Philadelphia added to its roster this winter. Harper joins fellow outfielder Andrew McCutchen, catcher J.T. Realmuto, shortstop Jean Segura and reliever David Robertson in a massive offseason haul.

As a result, the Phillies World Series odds have improved and the excitement among Phillies players and fans has reached a brand new level.

More from Yahoo Sports:

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Philadelphia
-121--
Detroit
+100--