Good Afternoon, Nats fans!
DC area sports writers have been speculating on Bryce Harper for weeks, if not months, now, especially after Prince Fielder signed with the Tigers for 9 years and $214M. That unexpected move only fueled the Harper discussion even more, and here are three reasons why:
1.) He’s a Left-Handed Hitter. The Nats lineup will be mostly Righty.
2.) He can take over Left Field, granted LaRoche plays out his contract, his option is not picked up, and Morse moves over to First, granted he doesn’t have a monumental drop off.
3.) There’s a spot for him, especially with Davey Johnson filling out the lineup card.
Because of these reasons, writers everywhere have been publishing stories on what Harper can and cannot do to make the 25-man Roster. I enjoy reading these articles, and I agree with most of their sentiments.
Then I read Jason Reid’s Article, “Bryce Harper needs to grow up”
Jason Reid is a writer for the Washington Post, and this is an opinion piece. It’s a very good piece and I definitely recommend it as a good read. He references an interview Harper recently had where he mentions that when he does make it to the Big Leagues, he wants to emulate “Broadway Joe” Namath, the Jets Quarterback who famously guaranteed the Jets would win Super Bowl III over the then-heavily favored Baltimore Colts, and made good on that guarantee. He also wore lavish fur coats on the sideline during games, and was that guy everyone wanted to be. For those who follow Harper on Twitter (@BHarper3407), we know he is a New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, and Duke Blue Devils fan. Nationals fans did not take this well, as they busted out the torches and pitchforks. How dare a kid who grew up in NEVADA not root for any DC area teams, when he has only been a National for less than 3 years, and has not even played in Nationals Park yet?
I noticed a lot of people seemed a tad put off by the Namath comment as well, and while I do agree with Reid’s overall message of the article, which is: The Nats invested a lot of money in this kid, he needs to act older wiser beyond his years. No blowing kisses at Pitchers he hits taters off of.
CALM DOWN, PEOPLE
Bryce Harper is 19 and he has swagger. So what? You mean to tell me that if you were a 19-year-old Super Prospect who left High School early to play better competition, and who owns the longest unofficial Home Run in Tropicana Field History, you WOULDN’T have a swagger? Come on now. Personally, I like a guy with some swagger. Anyone who expects him to come to the Majors in a Tuxedo, speaking eloquently over his pre-game caviar is absolutely NUTS. We need to realize that, after all, he IS 19. He’s going to have moments like “kiss-gate,” we can’t expect him not to. We all did ridiculous things at 19 years old. Players always have swagger, it never goes away. All players at the Major League level of EVERY sport have an attitude, or swagger, or SOMETHING. It can be obvious, a la Rex Ryan or Joe Namath, or it can a quiet confidence, like Eli Manning. People say that Rex Ryan, with a few more years of guaranteeing Super Bowl victories and not delivering, will become a caricature of himself, and nobody will take him seriously. Eli Manning was quite a different case, as people said early in his career that he didn’t care enough. No, he’s just an even keel guy, who doesn’t let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. 2 Super Bowl Wins/MVPs later, and nobody can say ANYTHING negative about Eli in good conscience. Period.
Now, i’m not saying Harper is going to do that. He doesn’t play football. What I am saying is that there is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING, wrong with Harper’s swagger. All players have it. Some players are very obvious about it, and some are not. The key to swagger being a good thing, however, is Harper’s ability to temper his swagger and words so that he does not come off as a big head or something to that nature. What is ridiculous, to me, is demoting these players because of that. I implore the Nationals not to do this. They are not the Florida/Miami Marlins and Logan Morrison. Players should get demoted for their on-field production. If Harper goes out in Spring Training and bats .350-.400 hits 7-10 Home Runs, then he should make this team. If he does the same thing, and he gets demoted, it’s obvious why. He probably made some sort of on or off field comment, or some sort of gesture to an opposing player, and that is ridiculous. Plain and Simple.
Fans: Don’t rip a player just because he has swagger. If you were in his position, you would have it too.