Anyone who has read this blog knows that what I’m about to write about Bryce Harper certainly isn’t because I’m just being a ‘hater’.
I was watching live last night when Bryce Harper ran into the wall. I played baseball long enough to know that when I watch that picture above and see the play, I wonder why he doesn’t feel the warning track under him. I wonder why there’s no semblance of Harper making a play. It’s almost if you didn’t know any better, Bryce Harper ran into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on purpose. But why would he do that?
I will keep playing this game hard for the rest of my life even if it kills me! Ill never stop! #RespectTheGame
— Bryce Harper (@Bharper3407) May 14, 2013
I don’t want to be suggestive here, but every few days lately it’s been something with Harper. Looking at his year-long career in a macro sense, it’s been one headline grabber after another. A lot of times it’s been because of his astonishing play. But there are plenty of examples of when Harper was ejected, argued with Ozzie Guillen, or got banged up.
And I think Bryce Harper is trying to hard to build a brand. I think when he’s 30 years old and has been in the game for a decade he’s going to realize what a stupid baseball play that it was last night to run head on into a wall when his team had a 6-0 lead (they would win the game 6-2, but as it’s been often the entire story was Harper).
Harper is now once again out of the lineup tonight. And that’s not #RespectingTheGame as he tweeted. The social media superstar needs to have a couple weeks here where he doesn’t grab the headlines with anything but his play. It’s not respecting the game when you’re in and out of the lineup because of one nagging injury after another. It’s frustrating for people who like to watch you play, and it undermines the value of the rest of the guys on your team.
First it was a flu in Florida, and Harper played through that. That was cool. Then it was running into the wall in Atlanta and a bruised side. He left a game early because of that. Then he got ejected in the first 10 minutes of a game in Pittsburgh. Then there was the ingrown toe nail surgery. Now it’s this incident. Last year he came inches away from possibly ending his career when he tossed a bat off a dugout wall in Cincinnati – a game I was at live. And there’s been two dozen other incidents where Harper grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons.
There are superstars in this game who go about their business very quietly. And that’s one aspect where I take Mike Trout all day over Harper. That guy is going to be out there rain or shine every day, providing value for his team that so dearly needs him. You can’t change the game when you’re on the disabled list or sitting out until you feel better because of one injury or another.
There are 162 games on the schedule, and perhaps that number above all else should be in the forefront of Harper’s mind. This is an act that’s already pretty tired.