As posted on The Dugout Doctors…
By now you’ve seen the video by now of 18 year old uber-prospect Bryce Harper watching a deep home run, rounding the bases, and blowing a kiss towards the pitcher as he rounds third base. If you haven’t seen the video, here you go.
You say he’s arrogant and that he doesn’t “get it.” You argue that he’s immature and needs to embrace his status as the future of the Washington Nationals and therefore learn to lead by example.
Harper is displaying an arrogance unseen since the days of Rickey Henderson, and perhaps it’s exactly what baseball needs to be exciting again. You can rip a guy like Barry Bonds all you’d like, but don’t pretend for a second that you’ve never mimicked him (or Ken Griffey Jr., or David Ortiz or whoever is your favorite slugger) by admiring a home run in your back yard.
The cockiness is certainly more exciting that than the alternative: the play-it-safe, “my-performance-only-matters-if-the-team-wins” façade put on by most superstar athletes these days.
Screw that. Flip the bat, watch your home run, and walk halfway to first base.
Forgive me for not understanding the general outrage over the incident. When did baseball become a game for stuffy old men and statistical geeks? It’s no wonder nobody cares about baseball anymore. It’s boring. It’s slow. You’re apparently not allowed to have fun. Know when people did care? When Barry Bonds was mashing 500 foot home runs in to the San Francisco Bay remaining in the batter’s box until he saw the ball splash.
And what’s with the double standard among sports? We laugh at touchdown celebrations and criticize the NFL for often being too strict about them. We cheer the NASCAR driver as he spins doughnuts on a track’s infield after winning a race. Yet we scream “unprofessional” when Jonathan Papelbon screams after closing a game or when Giants closer Brian Wilson does his whatever-you-call-it with his arms at the end of each game.
But when Bryce Harper, an 18 year old kid, has a little fun of his own, the world stops spinning. Lighten up.