Mike Lupica is Right? Wut? And other Bryce Harper Musings.

image.pngToday, in Sports on Earth, Mike Lupica writes that the game needs more exciting young players like Bryce Harper. I think I am coming down with something because I can’t remember the last time I agreed with him. Yes. The game does. It needs buzz. It needs fun.

Lupica writes:

There’s no recession in baseball. But there is the idea that the other sports have the stars to watch. Baseball needs Bryce Harper to continue to be great and to be somebody to watch the way golf Tiger Woods became somebody the whole country wanted to watch when he first came along. Baseball needs Bryce to be a one-name star like LeBron, or Steph.

Baseball has a problem. I work with some guys who watch sports–basketball, football (these are not my baseball loving doctors). The other day, I mentioned Bryce Harper. They honestly had no idea who I was talking about. “You have got to be freaking kidding me? You’re teasing me, right?” No, they were serious. Blank looks. I was floored. This is arguably baseball’s most marketable star. “Look, we’re friends. If we’re going to continue our friendship, you need to know who Bryce Harper is.” I proceeded to tell them.

Most of you have probably already read the excellent ESPN feature that Lupica refers to in his blog post, in which Bryce Harper says that baseball is tired because players can’t express themselves.

And he’s right too.

“Baseball’s tired,” Harper says. “It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig — there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.

“Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling — hoorah … if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot … I mean — sorry.”

Finally, this story from Bryce’s profile made me chuckle:

A lady was going around asking kids in his middle school what they want to be when they grow up. Bryce Harper said, “I want to be a professional baseball player.”

“Well,” the lady says, a jagged shard of disapproval seeping into her tone, “I think maybe you should pick a new profession. You know that doesn’t happen very often.”

I had an 8 year old boy, the grandchild of one my patients, tell me today at work he wanted to be a baseball player when he grew up. I smiled at him and said, “I will cheer for you when you make it.”


32 thoughts on “Mike Lupica is Right? Wut? And other Bryce Harper Musings.

  1. Damn, I was gonna post about this, but ran out of time. I fully agree with Bryce. The old guys get pissed at bat flippings and staring and stuff, but the younger guys don’t give a damn. Give it a few more years and you’ll see more and more of it. And then one guy will go too far and take a 99mph fastball to the right eye socket and this is why we can’t have nice things.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the original ESPN piece, they mention that Mike Trout has the personality of a plate full of sand, which I think is not really fair and not actually true. I think Trout is a nice guy, full of smiles, fun loving, good with kiddos and all of that. He’s not brash like Harper is, but it doesn’t mean that he’s not an interesting guy. I find Trout to be very interesting, and fun.

    But I do agree on many points with the Human Potato. I love the bat flips. IDGAF.


      1. Man, why the hate for a plate of sand, what did it ever do to you?

        Trout definitely seems like a nice guy…but, you know, a lot of nice people are still REALLY boring. There is nothing wrong with being boring, per se,…most people are pretty boring…but “being nice” is generally something said about boring people because there isn’t much else you can come up with to say about them.

        Trout lives with his parents and the most exciting non-baseball thing anyone can say he’s done is drive around in snow and tweet about it. While funny, not exactly the behavior of a non-boring person.


        1. I love sand. Lots of fun things happen on sand.

          I am nice. I am not boring. 🙂

          I don’t disagree that Trout’s personality is not the most marketable. Harper’s is. Trout is a touch on the bland side of the spectrum, but he is kind and polite, good with fans, and a fantastic talent. You take him to momma.

          Harper is white (sorry, that helps), attractive, brash, and amazingly talented. He loves the spotlight. He’s the man that baseball needs. He’s the next Jeter.


        2. Yeah, to clarify…boring isn’t bad, I know people usually mean it that way…but most people are pretty boring to most people most of the time.


        3. I am sorry, were you talking to me? (yawn)

          I find most people pretty interesting in their own way but that’s me. I like hearing their stories.


        4. Sure, when you first meet them, anyone can seem somewhat interesting. People usually run out of stories fairly quickly….and most people’s stories are pretty boring stories.


        5. Lol, but in a mean New York way!

          If I didn’t like people, I would really bad at my job. Based on the feedback I get, I am pretty good at it. I majored in psychology for a reason. I find people, their behavior, and the human mind pretty interesting.

          I recall a story you told about yourself at Christmas and your disappointment. That was pretty funny. My parents told me my favorite phrase as a child was, “That’s very interesting.”


        6. Oh, I find people and their behavior interesting….but that doesn’t mean I like people very much. People are a little too good at deceiving themselves for my taste.

          Now, dogs. Dogs I find interesting and eminently likable and lovable.


        7. I still like people, in spite of my myself. I see them at their most vulnerable. I can’t help it.

          Dogs are better than us. I wish I was worthy of the fealty and adoration my dog shows me.


        8. Yeah, my dogs drive me to be a better owner. I feel badly if they don’t get to go on hikes or have life enriching experiences. I let them be dogs as much as I can and still ensure their safety. They enrich my life so much that I feel obliged to return the favor.


        9. Of course, you are an optimist….having faith in mankind despite our fantastical track record of continuing and every more catastrophic failure…which I admire, but couldn’t muster on my own.


        10. “He’s the next Jeter.”

          Except Jeter was pure vanilla. The last words that come to mind when I thing of Beeb-Beep are “brash and exciting” or loving the spotlight. Always the same cliche answers to questions, never put a foot wrong. I credit a lot of that to him upholding the “Yankees mystique”.


        11. Yeah, Jeter’s public persona is the epitome of boring. Maybe that was by design, but it is also possible that he’s just a boring person.


        12. Boring rich people dating each other is mystique? I mean, rich people get to do cool things, but that doesn’t make them interesting…it just means that they are exposed to things most of us don’t get a chance to experience..they don’t become an icon in beer commercials because of it.

          I mean, I guess you are right. For some reason, most people are obsessed with the lives of rich or famous people…something I’ve never quite understood. I admit it, I’m weird.


        13. I agree. I don’t find that particularly compelling either but to a very large portion of the population, hot, rich people dating is well, hot. It’s glamorous. I believe Jeter has a beautiful fiancée now, but I know her as the woman in the commercial with the gorgeous talking horse. I don’t keep up with who is dating who, but there is an entire gossip industry dedicated to this. Someone asked me today if I watch The Bachelor. I smiled and asked, “Is there baseball on The Bachelor? Then, no.” They laughed. They know me.

          Harper has the potential to be compelling to the non-ardent fan. The people not like us. The people who don’t care about his fWAR or his UZR. The people who watch for what is he going to say, or who he is going to date, or what he is going to wear next. You think I care what suit he wears? Or if he is dating a starlet? No, but the casual fans, the people we need to keep our sport going–they do.


        14. You misunderstood me. Jeter was an international star. Harper has that potential. Jeter was also glamorous, dating models and actresses. Yes, when he spoke it was all in cliches and boring. What I meant is Harper’s potential for stardom is similar to Jeter’s. When Jeter retired, people asked, who is the next Jeter? The next ambassador and representative of the sport. I say it is going to be Bryce Harper.


        15. Jeter was an international star for one reason only… he was a New York Yankee and won a few WS. On any other team in baseball, Jeter would have been a quiet, under-the-radar shortstop with a pretty good bat, middling glove and poor range.


        16. @nbjays, I didn’t say that where he played wasn’t a part of it. I agree with you. Where he played was a factor as well. His looks, the fact that he played for the Yankees, his penchant for dating famous women, dressed sharp, that he was an above average player, all factored into his being an international star. If you asked someone in Budapest, name a baseball player, he would say “Derek Jeter”, like it or not.

          Harper will likely be a handsomely paid Yankee in a few years, likely the highest paid player of all time. He is handsome. He has interesting things to say. He may or may not date a lot–depends on how Mormon he is. So far, he doesn’t act like any Mormon I have ever met, and I have met a few. How many pose naked for magazines? He is already a better player than Jeter ever was. He likes stylish clothes and very fancy cars. I think he will be baseball’s next international star. And that is all I meant by Harper will be the next Jeter.


        17. Yes, that’s exactly what I meant, FC. I meant Bryce is the next Jeter in that everyone will know who he is. Harper is more talented than Jeter.


    1. Mike Trout has all the same friends he had when he was growing up. I think his parents did a remarkable job with that young man. He might be the most humble superstar athlete I’ve ever seen.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I agree with others…this is weird. Lupica is such a stodgy get-off-of-my-lawn moralizing windbag…I can’t remember the last time he said anything that even resembled an opinion of mine. This is weird. My world is atilt, I don’t like it.


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