Bryce Harper Drilled In Face By 97 MPH Fastball ... But MLB Star Somehow 'All Good'

Bryce Harper is lucky to have avoided complete disaster Wednesday ... the MLB star was drilled in the nose by a 97 MPH pitch, but thankfully, he says he's somehow "all good."

The Phillies outfielder was up to bat in the 6th inning of Philadelphia's tilt with the St. Louis Cardinals ... when Génesis Cabrera's pitch got away from him and smashed BH right in the face.

The clip is horrifying ... the fastball appeared to catch Harper right between the eyes -- and Bryce immediately left the game for the training room.

Of course, with players like Giancarlo Stanton having suffered SEVERE damage from being hit with pitches in the face in the past ... many feared the worst for Harper.

But, fortunately, Harper said in a video after the game he passed all tests and expects to recover in no time.

"MY FACE IS STILL THERE"
@bryceharper3 / Instagram

"Everything feels good," Bryce said, showing off nothing more than minor swelling on his nose. "Everything came back good -- CT [scan], all that kind of stuff."

"So, face is still there. So, we're all good. See you guys soon!"

As for Cabrera -- who also hit Didi Gregorious in the back in the at-bat following Harper's -- he felt so badly about the night, he apologized after the game.

"I really wish him the best," Cabrera said of Harper. "I hope he has a speedy recovery, in whatever it is that happened, and that he'll be able to return to baseball activities."

"The game got away from me at that point. I'm really sorry for everything that happened today. None of it was intentional. And again, I'm sorry for everything."

By the way ... the Phils went on to win the game, 5-3, despite the loss of Harper. The two teams will play again Thursday morning.

MLB's Kolten Wong Takes At-Bat In Tears ... After Getting Standing Ovation In STL Return

Touching moment in the MLB on Thursday ... Kolten Wong got a standing ovation in his return to St. Louis -- and he was so emotional about it, he had to take his ensuing at-bat in tears.

It all went down in the 1st inning of the Brewers' tilt with the Cards ... when Wong -- who played in STL from 2013 through 2020 -- was set to take his first AB as an opposing player at Busch Stadium.

But, as soon as his name was announced over the PA system ... fans roared so loudly for the Cards' former second baseman, the game was paused for several seconds.

Even Wong's ex-teammates, pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, took a few bows to pay their respects to the 30-year-old.

And, all of love clearly hit Wong HARD ... 'cause he spent his entire ensuing at-bat crying.

Fortunately for Wong, Wainwright didn't throw him a single strike on four pitches ... and he was able to head down to first base pretty quickly to re-collect himself.

Props to STL for the cool move ... #classy!

St. Louis Cardinals Legend Lou Brock Dead at 81 ... Battling Multiple Illnesses

St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock has died ... this according to the St. Louis-Post Dispatch.

Reporter Rick Hummel says Brock passed away Sunday afternoon, adding he was battling multiple medical conditions near the end of his life. The exact circumstances of his death remain unclear.

Brock was a living legend in Missouri, as he's best known as one of the greatest Cardinals players ever who helped lead the franchise to a World Series title in 1964 ... the same year he was traded to the team from the Chicago Cubs. He was a major factor to them winning the fall classic again in 1967, racking up a then-historic number of hits and stolen bases.

Speaking of the latter, Lou will perhaps be best remembered for exactly that ... the dude could steal anything out on the diamond. The guy leads the National League as the all-time greatest base stealer (ever) with a whopping 938 stolen bases through his 19-year career.

There are other milestones he hit along the way, but just to sum up his achievements ... the guy was a 6-time All-Star, 2-time World Series champ, had over 3,000 hits to his name and was a first-ballot HOF inductee. He goes down in the books as one of the greats.

He's survived by his wife, Jacqueline, and his son, Lou Jr. Brock was 81.

RIP

MLB's Yadier Molina Tests Positive For COVID-19 ... Vows To Return ASAP

MLB star Yadier Molina says he's one of several St. Louis Cardinals dealing with coronavirus ... announcing Tuesday he tested positive even after following all the proper protocols.

The 38-year-old -- who some expect to be a lock for baseball's Hall of Fame -- said in a statement in Spanish on social media he's disappointed to have contracted the virus.

But, the catcher added he's doing everything possible to return to the team ASAP.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

"As I recover," Yadi said, "I request that my privacy and that of my family be respected during my absence from the team."

The Cards said in a statement in addition to Yadi ... infielders Paul DeJong, Edmundo Sosa, and Rangel Ravelo, and pitchers Junior Fernández and Kodi Whitley have also agreed to publicly come forward with their positive diagnosis.

As we previously reported, the Cardinals are currently dealing with at least 13 cases of coronavirus on their team ... with GM John Mozeliak saying some have experienced symptoms like "headaches, coughs, sniffles, and low-grade fevers."

The Cards have had several games postponed due to the outbreak ... with their series against the Detroit Tigers this week already being moved.

The Miami Marlins, meanwhile, are experiencing similar issues ... having missed most of the start of the MLB's rebooted year with coronavirus cases of their own.

STL Manager Mike Shildt F-Bomb Speech After Beating Braves! 'No One F**ks With Us, Ever!'

WE'RE GONNA KICK THEIR F***ING ASS

"No one f*cks with us, ever!"

That's St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt GOING OFF in a spectacular f-bomb-laced locker room speech after his team upset the Braves -- and it's AWESOME!!

"Now, I don't give a f**k who we play. We're gonna f**k them up!"

Atlanta and St. Louis had a chippy NLDS ... and after the Redbirds closed it out 13-1 in Game 5 Wednesday -- Shildt broke out all the cuss words!

"They started some s**t. We finished the s**t," Shildt says in the vid captured by St. Louis outfielder Randy Arozarena. "And, that's how we roll."

Arozarena apologized for posting the footage because it was supposed to be a private moment, but it was still awesome to watch.

"We're gonna take it right to them the whole f**king way. We're gonna kick their f**king ass!"

By the way, "they" is now the Washington Nationals. The two squads are set to face off in the NLCS, a best of 7 series.

As for Shildt, he's known for being a super nice and calm dude -- remember how awesome he was to TMZ Sports when we got him out in NYC earlier this year???

GREAT TEAM, GREAT STORY
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But, clearly, he's got a fiery side ... 'cause his locker room speech was EPIC!!!

As for why he was so jacked up ... St. Louis was pissed off at Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. all series long for his antics at the dish (there were bat flipping and base-running dancing).

So, even in a blowout in the series finale ... the Cards plunked him with a fastball -- and clearly they weren't sorry about it.

MLB's Matt Carpenter Pujols Won't Be Booed In STL Return ... He's A Hero

A HERO'S WELCOME
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In St. Louis and thinking of booing Albert Pujols in his return to Busch Stadium this week??

Don't do it ... so says Cardinals star Matt Carpenter, who tells TMZ Sports Pujols deserves to be treated like a king in his first game back in STL.

"Like a hero coming back to town," Carpenter says.

Of course, The Machine famously put together a Hall of Fame career for the Cards from 2001 to 2011 ... but he didn't leave for the Angels on the best of terms following the '11 season.

Some have thought he might be welcomed with a bunch of boos because of that when he comes to town with the Halos this week ... but Carpenter says fans should stand up and cheer nonetheless.

"That guy had arguably one of the 10 best seasons that have ever been played in St. Louis," Matt says.

First pitch Friday is at 5:15 PM PT ... Pujols is expected to step into the batter's box in either the first or second innings.

#CantWait

Cardinals' Mike Shildt Blues' Stanley Cup Magic ... It's Inspired Us!!!

GREAT TEAM, GREAT STORY
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The St. Louis Blues' Stanley Cup run will HELP the city's baseball team ... so says Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, who tells TMZ Sports the hockey champs have "inspired" his guys!!!

Of course, nobody gave the Blues a chance to win Lord Stanley back when the season began ... but they improbably made their way through the league to hoist the trophy Wednesday.

When we got Shildt out in NYC just a couple days later ... he told us the Blues' season is motivating as hell -- and the Cardinals are definitely taking notice!!!

"We're always inspired by great stories," Schildt says ... "And the Blues are a great story."

Schildt added, "[The Blues] had heart and grit and kind of represent the city of St. Louis."

The extra motivation is good news for the Redbirds ... they could use it -- they're just a few games out of 1st place in the NL Central!!

MLB's Marcell Ozuna On Big Papi Attack ... I Have To Watch My Back In D.R. Now

ON HIGH ALERT
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Cardinals superstar Marcell Ozuna says he ain't scared to return to the D.R. after David Ortiz was shot Sunday ... but he tells TMZ Sports he will have to watch his back in his home country now.

"I'ma be careful," the 28-year-old Santo Domingo native admits.

Ortiz was sitting outside of a bar over the weekend when a man walked up from behind and shot him at point-blank range.

The attack stunned everybody ... and had Dominican natives like White Sox phenom Eloy Jimenez openly admitting he's now scared to go back home.

Ozuna tells us he's not ready to go that far with his feelings on the D.R. yet ... but says he will have to be on high alert when he's back home now.

"I'm not afraid," the outfielder says ... "But I'ma be careful."

As for Big Papi ... his wife, Tiffany, says he's continuing "to make progress" in his recovery from the shooting.

Nelly Begs Bryce Harper To Sign With Cards ... At Florida Georgia Line Show

LETS MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Good news, Cardinals fans ... Nelly's gonna get Bryce Harper to join the squad!!!

At least, that's what the rapper says -- 'cause when he grabbed baseball's top free agent backstage at the Florida Georgia Line concert Saturday ... he gave his best St. Louis pitch.

"Listen, Bill, Mr. DeWitt, call me! I got this. Alright? I'm doing all the negotiations. He just need a little convincing, man! That's all!"

Bryce's response -- he didn't say no!!

Of course ... Bryce has a TON of suitors these days -- even ones just as famous as Nelly ... 'cause when he hit the FGL concert with his old pal, Kris Bryant -- you know Cubs talk went down there too.

Bryce is playing his free agency card close to the vest -- with the Nationals, Phillies, Cubs, Cardinals, Yankees and more all being rumored to be his next spot.

We spotted Harper in L.A. a few weeks ago and he hinted that the Cubs and White Sox could have an edge because Chicago is his favorite city ... when it comes to restaurants!

FREE AGENT FRENZY
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So, who's actually the favorite in the race? Not sure at this point ... but we know the dude is about to get PAID -- reports say his next deal could be worth $400 MILLION!!

Jon Hamm Revels in Jason Bateman's Sadness ... at Dodger Game

You can tell who won the Dodgers vs. Cardinals game just by looking at Jon Hamm and Jason Bateman.

Hamm -- easily one of the biggest Cards superfans on the planet -- had a front row seat for St. Louis' 5-2 win over Bateman's Dodgers on Tuesday ... and he made sure J.B. never heard the end of it.

The Dodgers are currently in a tight race for the playoffs ... but have lost 7 of their last 10 games (which might explain why Bateman looks like he just saw a dog get hit by a car).

It wasn't all sadness for Bateman, though ... at least he got to see Manny Machado hit a dinger.

Yay?

Andy Cohen Begs Giancarlo to Pick the Cardinals ... We'll Worship You!!

CARDINAL CALL
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Here's Andy Cohen schooling MLB on how to pitch soon-to-be-traded Giancarlo Stanton on playing for your baseball team ... layin' it all on the line for the superstar slugger.

FYI, it looks like the Stanton sweepstakes is down to the Giants, Dodgers and Cardinals -- so, when TMZ Sports got Cohen -- an STL superfan -- out in NYC ... he made sure Giancarlo knew all he'd be getting.

"We will love on you like NEVER BEFORE. We are your team! We are waiting for you!" Andy shouted.

The reality TV host checked all the boxes ... guaran-damn-teeing a hardcore fan base, a boatload of cash and even a championship ring!! And the cherry on top ...

"I have my Instagram -- I'm waiting to follow you, dude!"

Advantage, Cards? Maybe, maybe not ...

COME HOME, GIANCARLO!!!
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St Louis Cardinals Latin Trap Dance Party ... Boppin' On Team Plane

MILE HIGH TURN UP

Here's Yadier Molina and his St. Louis Cardinals teammates showing that winning is a whole lot of freakin' fun ... having a Latin-flavored dance party on the team plane on the way to Boston.

The Cards played the Red Sox earlier this week, and even though they dropped two to the Beantown boys, they're still 7-3 in their last 10, gaining on the Cubs in the Central, with a lot to celebrate.

Seems like the guys had it all planned out and ride the drop perfectly as they bruck out in unison to the song, "Krippy Kush" by Farruko ft. Bad Bunny.

Yeah, we've never heard of those guys either, but the song is pretty lit.

Feel free to turn up (it's Friday).

Lou Brock Diagnosed With Bone Cancer

St. Louis Cardinals legend Lou Brock has been diagnosed with bone cancer and is currently receiving treatment for multiple myeloma, the team announced Thursday.

Brock -- a 2-time World Series champ -- was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1985 and currently serves as a special instructor coach for the Redbirds.

The 6-time All Star was scheduled to make a guest appearance at a team event later this month, but canceled due to the treatments.

"Jackie and I appreciate the prayers and support we have received from our many friends and fans in the Cardinals community," Brock says.

"We count ourselves blessed that I am receiving the best possible medical treatment and we look forward to seeing many more Cardinals World Series Championships in the future."

MLB's Carlos Martinez Calls BS on STD Lawsuit ... '100% False'

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez is ferociously disputing a lawsuit -- in which the 24-year-old is accused of giving a woman non-life threatening STDs ... after swearing he was clean.

The woman behind the suit, filed in district court in Miami, claims she began a romantic relationship with Martinez in 2012 -- and the two had an on-and-off relationship for years.

According to the suit, the two reconnected last year -- and began having sex again on Dec. 16th. Two days later, the woman claims she began to feel ill and later tested positive for multiple STDs.

The woman claims she had grilled Martinez about his sexual health before they hooked up and he "swore to God that he was not infected with any sexually transmitted disease."

Soon after the woman informed Martinez about her condition, he allegedly bolted for the Dominican Republic and never called her back.

Now, she's suing him for battery, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, fraud and more ... and she's demanding more than $1.5 million in damages.

We spoke with Martinez's attorney Ruben Scolavino who tells us Carlos adamantly denies the allegations.

"I can tell you most assuredly the allegations are 100% false."

AZ Cards' Calais Campbell Defends Carson Palmer 'He Had One Bad Day'

WE'LL BE THERE NEXT YEAR
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Carson Palmer's teammates still have his back -- especially superstar defensive end Calais Campbell -- who says the QB is still a WARRIOR who just had one bad day at the office.

Palmer got all sorts of heat after throwing 4 picks in the NFC championship game -- but clearly, his teammates aren't throwing him under the bus.

But the best part of this encounter is when the 6'8" 310 pounder admitted he tried STAND-UP COMEDY a few years ago!

Turns out his brother Jared Quay is a professional comic -- and says he's trying to get Calais to get back onstage. Question is ... will he do it? Check out the clip.

NO MORE FUNNY BUSINESS
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