I hadn’t planned on writing anything about Bryce Harper, until I started reading articles about him and watching analysts describe him, that’s when I got a little fired up and decided I have to be the voice of reason. Harper is a 17 year old kid from Las Vegas who was just drafted number one overall in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Washington Nationals. He is already 6’3” and 205 pounds. He decided that high school baseball was no longer a challenge for him so he got his GED after his sophomore season and then enrolled in a junior college so that he could enter the MLB Draft this year. Sports Illustrated wrote a cover story on him and described him as “the LeBron James of baseball”. He has all kinds of hype around him and deservedly so. He has incredible power for a 17 year-old; he absolutely crushes homeruns including a few 500 foot bombs. People thought he would struggle moving from an aluminum bat to a wooden but it didn’t stop him this year. He hit 32 homeruns in his junior college wooden bat league, shattering the team’s old record of 12. In one of their playoff games he hit 4 homeruns. He is basically a freak of nature.
What is ridiculous about Harper is the way people have completely lost their minds when they try to analyze him. There are some people who say he is going to be one of the best power hitters in major league baseball and a hall of famer. That’s absolutely insane, just because he is great now there is no telling how his career in the majors will be. How about we just say he is one of the greatest 17 year-olds ever and has a chance to be a great player in the Majors. There is no need to say ridiculous comments about him being an all-star or hall of famer when he hasn’t played a single inning of professional baseball. Slow your roll analysts, slow your roll.
Then there is the other side of the coin where people, definitely the bigger idiots of the bunch, are actually bashing the kid. The only problem is their arguments are absolute garbage and unfounded. Some people say that he has an attitude problem because he occasionally stares down umpires and talks trash back to opposing players. A slightly immature 17 year-old? You don’t say? He was the biggest badass in his high school and on his junior college team, and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16 years-old. Of course he is going to be arrogant, anyone would be. If he was at your high school or your college he would be banging the hottest girl that’s just a fact. This isn’t a situation like Demarcus Cousins who played basketball at Kentucky this year. That guy was immature and a dirty player. He would throw cheap shots all game long. Cousins is just a bad guy. Harper isn’t a dirty or bush league player at all. When he has been ejected it is for arguing with umpires over strike calls and then there was one time when he bowed towards the opposing team in a game where he hit two homeruns because they had been talking noise to him all game long. Most of his “attitude” problems are just from passion of the game and a little arrogance.
Think about what you were doing at age 17. Now think if you were the best athlete in your high school and were about to make millions. Of course you are going to be immature and cocky. All his past coaches and teammates have vouched for him, saying he is a great teammate and they’ve never had a problem with him because he’s a hard worker. Obviously they like him because he gets them exposure and helps them win but they would be a little more reserved with their comments if they absolutely hated him. There are some people that are actually criticizing Harper for wearing too much eye-black, because he smears it down his face. Really? That’s what people have to complain about? That should be the biggest sign that there are very few weaknesses in Harper’s game when one of their main criticisms is the way he wears his eye-black. What’s next? Are we going to complain that he wears sliding shorts instead of the old school traditional jock strap? My God just let him do whatever he wants.
Nobody knows for sure if Bryce Harper is going to be a future MLB All-Star but all these superlatives people say about him need to stop. Journalists and analysts just need to say that Harper has all the talent in the world and has a chance to be special in Major League Baseball and that he is a little immature because he is young. Those are the absolute facts. People don’t need to say things like once-in-a-generation, future hall of famer, or grasp for straws by saying bad kid with an attitude problem. Just talk about his strengths and weaknesses strictly as a baseball player. His swing, his arm strength, his speed, his fielding, those are the important characteristics right now. Not stupid meaningless things like eye black smears. Does he need to stop arguing with the umpires and grow up a bit? Of course he does, but he’s 17 years-old, he will mature, its natural, he should be getting ready for his senior year of high school for God’s sake! He has done everything possible to challenge himself but has still been the best player everywhere he goes. He has the right to feel like the biggest badass because well he is. He will be humbled in the minors and majors and by then he should be fine. People just need to relax. If I was Bryce I would tell all the negative media to go eff themselves, because I’m about to sign a multi-million dollar contract before I can even legally drink a beer.