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Bryce Harper (1992-), Washington Nationals Right-Fielder (2012 - 2018), Precocious Baseball Superstar, 2015 NL MVP, and Now on the Philadelphia Phillies


DonRocks
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"The Man They Love To Hate: Why Is It So Easy To Dislike Bryce Harper?" by Tom Verducci on si.com
 
I have not read this article yet, and I don't consider myself to be a rabid Nats fan, but it's a very good question: Why *is* it so easy to dislike Bryce Harper? From what (little) I've seen, I think he's perfectly likable, or at least likable enough. What's the problem?

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"The Man They Love To Hate: Why Is It So Easy To Dislike Bryce Harper?" by Tom Verducci on si.com

I have not read this article yet, and I don't consider myself to be a rabid Nats fan, but it's a very good question: Why *is* it so easy to dislike Bryce Harper? From what (little) I've seen, I think he's perfectly likable, or at least likable enough. What's the problem?

As a Nats fan, Don's reasonable question (reasonable because he isn't an avid fan) is one of the more tiresome questions repeatedly posed by lazy (imo) and thus uninformed local and national baseball media. With the Nats' season kicking off tomorrow, it's a freakin' godsend that it may lessen the tsunami of "stories" devoted largely to three topics and only three topics (Harper, $210 million dollar man Scherzer and the now "historic starting rotation"). There are so many other great stories that can be written about the team including the pen, the bench, the 2016 FAs, the 2B situation and others) but only a small cadre of writers tend to cover them.

Out of respect to Don though, my answer to the "Why is it so easy to dislike Bryce Harper?" would be something like this.

First, it's a presumptive and loaded question designed only to get a fast and easy audience. Most Nats fans quite like Harper simply because he has such a high ceiling, isn't a behavior problem and plays with his hair on fire much in the style of the young Pete Rose. Fans of the team know he's still very young, has yet to face a pitcher younger than he is, now in his fourth season, and he didn't attend college. As to why fans of other, and especially rival, teams may not like him, simply because he does speak his mind, is incredibly talented and isn't on their teams. Verducci is a seasoned journalist and knows all this. The article is beneath him imho.

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Impressive!

Dammit, I can't figure out how to embed the link to save my life:

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/12834604/bryce-harper-washington-nationals-hits-home-runs-first-three-bats

Hopefully, Don will give me huge (and, we're talking very huge) points and other member benes for this but, here's how it works, Al.

1. Have to be on a computer.  Can't do on a phone or tablet.

2. Copy the url of the link you want to embed.  Can click on the url window and drag or 'select all' to highlight the entire url depending on whether Apple or MSFT

3.  With the copied url on your notepad (in the background basically), go to the post on dr.com in which you want to embed the link

4. Highlight the text within your post you want to become the hyperlink

5.  Right above the open text window, in which you type, you should should see a tool bar. One of the tools in a chain link icon with a small green plus symbol.  Click that.

6.  When the small, new "link" window opens, you'll see a place to enter a url. Hit Cntrl-V on a Windows machine or Command-V on a Mac to paste the copied url into that field.

7. Hit "OK." The dialog box closes and you should have your first embedded link.

Try it with the one just above. You can copy the link you already have there from here, without having to go back to espn.com.  Should take 5 seconds since you have all you need here for this one.

And, if this works, you're perfectly welcome to buy me lunch.   :D

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Switches from hockey to see Harper smack a 3-run homer to make it 7-2.  Five homers, 10 RBIs in 2 games.

Why didn't I go to this game???? 

5 homers tonight, so far.

The 5 home runs in two games are the most of all time by a player as young as Harper. Historic stuff happening at Nats Park this week.  Go today, lovehockey!  4pm first pitch. We'll be there!

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- Pay the soon-to-be-NL-MVP whatever the f*%& Boras wants you to pay him.  Lock him up now until his early 30s.  If this is just the beginning of his career output let somebody else overpay for his years in decline, but pay for the privilege of his prime.  Bryce (and Scherzer) will put butts in seats for the next decade, this is not a bad investment no matter what the record-setting total $$$$$$

Unfortunately, there is zero percent chance Harper and Boras sign an extension. Harper *will* hit the 2019 free agency market, in his 26-year-old prime, and I don't see any way that the Nationals keep him. Harper will go down in baseball history as a New York Yankee when it's all said and done.

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Unfortunately, there is zero percent chance Harper and Boras sign an extension. Harper *will* hit the 2019 free agency market, in his 26-year-old prime, and I don't see any way that the Nationals keep him. Harper will go down in baseball history as a New York Yankee when it's all said and done.

The Lerners just have to tender him a ridiculous offer.  Contrary to popular belief Boras doesn't always get what Boras wants.  High profile clients have "defied" him in the past and signed contracts that they just wanted to get done; it's not out of the question.  If the team doesn't make any moves in that direction, however, they'll have nobody to blame when he does walk.  At least show him you are serious about making him the face of the franchise.

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Unfortunately, there is zero percent chance Harper and Boras sign an extension. Harper *will* hit the 2019 free agency market, in his 26-year-old prime, and I don't see any way that the Nationals keep him. Harper will go down in baseball history as a New York Yankee when it's all said and done.

While I agree that Harper won't sign an extension - how is it that the Nats won't keep him? While it's nice to buy into the Yankee narrative, the fact remains that the Lerners are among the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, owners in MLB and could pay Bryce whatever he asks for. Whether or not they choose do so is another matter entirely.

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While I agree that Harper won't sign an extension - how is it that the Nats won't keep him? While it's nice to buy into the Yankee narrative, the fact remains that the Lerners are among the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, owners in MLB and could pay Bryce whatever he asks for. Whether or not they choose do so is another matter entirely.

What are the odds that Harper has a catastrophic injury between now and 2019? A bird in hand ...

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What are the odds that Harper has a catastrophic injury between now and 2019? A bird in hand ...

I am not going to entertain that possibility, but his contract requires that the Nats pay for 8 semesters of college, so they (i.e., Harper and his people) are covering all their bases, so to speak.

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The Lerners just have to tender him a ridiculous offer.  Contrary to popular belief Boras doesn't always get what Boras wants. .

While it's nice to buy into the Yankee narrative, the fact remains that the Lerners are among the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, owners in MLB and could pay Bryce whatever he asks for. 

Harper openly idolizes Mickey Mantle (3+4=7) and has never hid his enthusiasm for playing in iconic stadiums against legendary franchises. No matter how much money the Lerners have, they cannot buy the prestige of 100 years of winning. The Nationals, as much as I love them, are woefully lacking in the tradition department and have a fanbase with wandering eyes.

Harper sees himself as a future legend in the game, and he wants to be in the biggest market and play for the biggest bully. His love-me/hate-me personality fits perfectly as a Yankee, and a 2019 arrival would coincide nicely with the overpaid slough of the current team being shed for good by that time. It makes too much sense for him not to be in pinstripes.

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Harper openly idolizes Mickey Mantle (3+4=7) and has never hid his enthusiasm for playing in iconic stadiums against legendary franchises. No matter how much money the Lerners have, they cannot buy the prestige of 100 years of winning. The Nationals, as much as I love them, are woefully lacking in the tradition department and have a fanbase with wandering eyes.

Harper sees himself as a future legend in the game, and he wants to be in the biggest market and play for the biggest bully. His love-me/hate-me personality fits perfectly as a Yankee, and a 2019 arrival would coincide nicely with the overpaid slough of the current team being shed for good by that time. It makes too much sense for him not to be in pinstripes.

I'm not buying it. I'm not saying it won't happen, but I'm skeptical.

Harper's agent is Scott Boras, so we can bet on two absolutes -- (1) Harper will definitely leave the Nats after 2019 and go onto the free agent market, and (2) Boras will get him the largest contract in baseball history.

The Yankees have been burned by long-term contracts, where the final years of those contracts prevent any roster flexibility and eat huge chunks of payroll for very little return. See Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Giambi, Mark Teixeira....and so on. Meanwhile, as the Yankees are blowing payroll in huge chunks for very little return, they are not oblivious to teams passing them by with younger, more athletic and far more flexible rosters -- Pirates, Cubs, Royals, Mets, Blue Jays....

Take note of the Robinson Cano example. Here was a home-grown Yankee, at a position of need, who was just turning 30 and wanted a 10-year deal. The Yankees offered a very fair 7 years at $25M a year, and Cano is now in Seattle with a 10-year $240M contract (and the most flying miles of any team in baseball).

Harper will probably end up in Los Angeles....

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Harper sees himself as a future legend in the game, and he wants to be in the biggest market and play for the biggest bully.

No, he wants to win ("Where's my ring?", etc.).  Period.  The whole he'll-spend-his-career-as-a-Yankee thing is so obnoxious.  If he thinks he has the best chance to cement his legacy in NY then he will end up in NY, sure.  With the other intangibles it's a likely scenario given continued success.  But picture this: The Yankees, following the gradual loss of veteran talent, go on a decline in '16-'18 and their youngsters don't pan out as planned, and some splashy FA signings flame out.  Out of the playoffs in that stretch, maybe a (*gasp*) season or two below .500 in a resurgent AL East.  They are fully in rebuilding mode.  In the same time frame Team X has put together a core of young talent with multi-year deals for hitters that would provide Harper protection in the line up.  And they have a big chunk of change to make him the highest paid player in history.  I don't think there is any question where he ends up.  Bryce seems like the kind of guy who would actually give up salary for a good chance to get himself a WS ring or three.  Team X could just as well be the Nats as anybody else.

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What are the odds that Harper has a catastrophic injury between now and 2019? A bird in hand ...

Bryce likely has a large insurance policy (e.g. through Lloyd's or another specialty insurer) in the event of such an injury. This type of insurance is becoming more and more common among athletes.

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Congratulations to Bryce, now the youngest player ever to be unanimously elected as MVP.  I'm not so sure about that tie, but your niece and nephew are adorable.

Bryce, you kept talking about how much you love Washington and its fans.  We love you too.  Stay here.  Stay here for your whole career, just like the old school guys.  If the Lerners aren't on board, we'll get a gofundme.

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On May 9, 2016 at 6:08 PM, DonRocks said:

Bryce Harper hasn't had an official at-bat in his last 12 plate appearances.

Really.

12. BB
11. BB
10. SF
9. BB
8. IBB
7. BB
6. BB
5. IBB
4. HBP
3. BB
2. IBB
1. IBB

That's 0-for-0, with 1 RBI, and an OBP of .917

"Bryce Harper's Controversial, Frustrating, Record-Setting Day Versus The Cubs" by Chris Chase on foxsports.com

At the game on Tuesday I remarked to my brother that Murphy's average was a full .150 higher than Bryce, yet their OBP and OPS were within a couple of percentage points (both outstanding).  A walk is as good as a hit!  We'll see if the switch to Murphy hitting behind him will get him some more official at bats.

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13 hours ago, TedE said:

At the game on Tuesday I remarked to my brother that Murphy's average was a full .150 higher than Bryce, yet their OBP and OPS were within a couple of percentage points (both outstanding).  A walk is as good as a hit!  We'll see if the switch to Murphy hitting behind him will get him some more official at bats.

After today, Bryce Harper's on-base percentage is up to a ridiculous .456. For those who've been following the Nats lately, a major story is that Harper is walking at a tremendous rate - on May 8th, Harper became the first player in MLB history to reach base *seven times* in one game without an at-bat - that is an unqualified record: It has never been done before.

As amazing as all this is (especially considering Harper's batting average is only .278), I want to reiterate that Ted Williams had a *career* on-base percentage of .482.

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On 1/9/2016 at 4:40 AM, DonRocks said:

Bryce "Ice" Harper enjoys a cone at Ice Cream Jubilee, jubilant, alongside owner, Victoria Lai, elated - I love this picture!

post-2-0-78913100-1452333625_thumb.png

Aww, I never saw this! I had a few meetings with Victoria Lai when she worked for my agency (before her foray into ice cream). I think that means I'm only one degree separated from Bryce Harper!!

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Not only will the Nats be better off without him in the long run (though not having him will hurt their chances this year), there are at least 5 or 10 players who are better and will be hitting free agency in 2020, 2021, and 2022.  In other words, they're better off spending the $300M offered to Harper on someone else.

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5 hours ago, silentbob said:

Not only will the Nats be better off without him in the long run (though not having him will hurt their chances this year), there are at least 5 or 10 players who are better and will be hitting free agency in 2020, 2021, and 2022.  In other words, they're better off spending the $300M offered to Harper on someone else.

heh!!   Spoken like a GM with a background in salary cap analysis.   (I write that with admiration!!!)

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Bryce need to take a lesson from Alex Ovechkin and take the long view.  Folks were willing to call Ovechkin over the hill and ready to be traded.  He reinvented himself and won a Stanley Cup.  Not the highest paid player but the best and arguably enjoys every minute he plays.  Goodbye and goodnight Bryce.

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Harper has already boosted ticket sales in Philadelphia. I wonder what will happen here? He was a draw, that's for sure.

I prefer us to have a team mentality, as in St. Louis, if I can get across my point. Mentality is not quite the word.  Ethos? It would be fitting since we are a city known to be made of people passing through as well as a lot more natives than the rest of the country realizes! The passing through aspect sort of captures what I mean about the kind of team I hope we will be moving forward post-Harper. Our stability could come from overlooked names, not the brightest stars. The Houston Astros of the 80s were such a team. The country probably couldn't name the players other than stars like Nolan Ryan but the team was very solid!

The Cardinals have had stars for sure but you always were seeing new players. The team and the city meant more than the celebrities. (I mean post Gibson and Brock, Cepeda, and the lot). The players were interchangeable parts, in a way. With a star like Harper gone maybe the Nationals will be more like St. Louis. I am sure that around the country if you brought up the subject of DC baseball it's Harper who would come to mind, more than the team itself. If we can succeed with THIS group of players sans Harper the city might fall in love! It was something like that in 2012.

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3 hours ago, MC Horoscope said:

Harper has already boosted ticket sales in Philadelphia. I wonder what will happen here? He was a draw, that's for sure.

I prefer us to have a team mentality, as in St. Louis, if I can get across my point. Mentality is not quite the word.  Ethos? It would be fitting since we are a city known to be made of people passing through as well as a lot more natives than the rest of the country realizes! The passing through aspect sort of captures what I mean about the kind of team I hope we will be moving forward post-Harper. Our stability could come from overlooked names, not the brightest stars. The Houston Astros of the 80s were such a team. The country probably couldn't name the players other than stars like Nolan Ryan but the team was very solid!

The Cardinals have had stars for sure but you always were seeing new players. The team and the city meant more than the celebrities. (I mean post Gibson and Brock, Cepeda, and the lot). The players were interchangeable parts, in a way. With a star like Harper gone maybe the Nationals will be more like St. Louis. I am sure that around the country if you brought up the subject of DC baseball it's Harper who would come to mind, more than the team itself. If we can succeed with THIS group of players sans Harper the city might fall in love! It was something like that in 2012.

To the extent that I follow the Nats closely I'll miss Harper.  To (mis)quote Reggie Jackson Harper was the straw that stirred the drink.  When he was hot he could carry the team.  He certainly was a feared batter accumulating a bucket load of walks.  His persona had a lot of energy.  His "greatness" was erratic, but other than Mike Trout, there are no other Mike Trouts.

Of course I'm not the owner, the GM, or the expert on salaries.  It's not my money.  That being said I would of paid the guy to keep him here.  

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It will be interesting to see what happens to Harper for  publicly trying to recruit Trout to the Phillies. Nothing might have happened, but the Angels made a formal complaint to MLB, which may change things. The crazy thing is that, regardless of where Harper signed, the likelihood Trout would go to the Phillies when he became a free agent in 2020 was already pretty high. Harper didn't need to do this. It sounds as though his conversations with Trout during his own free agency helped persuade Harper to go to Philly, so this was a weird unforced error (i.e., Trout wasn't the one who needed to be persuaded.)

Presumably he was just inserting himself into Trout's situation to get attention. The way he's been talking, he sees himself as a LeBron-like character who is going to recruit all the best to play around him. (MLB does not need to become more like the NBA, in my opinion.)

Last year MLB reprimanded Aaron Judge for commenting that Manny Machado would look good in pinstripes, which got me to look up news from the time to see if the Orioles complained. It looks like they didn't, just that it was so blatant it went right to MLB's attention. I had completely forgotten about Harper trying to recruit Giancarlo Stantion to the Nats back before Stanton signed an extension with the Marlins. MLB didn't punish him for that. Regardless of his behavior, over the past 7 years, MLB has seemed reluctant to punish Harper.

Because there was a complaint of tampering filed by Trout's team, I think Harper will get at least a formal reprimand this time. A fine doesn't seem likely, maybe a small one.

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