We’ve all seen his slash line, and his natural talent, and his charming smile. But there has been one area where Bryce Harper has been a complete and total disappointment.
And that is his poor behavior.
“…what poor behavior?” you ask. ”The kid’s been an exercise in democratic negotiations. He doesn’t even drink. And I mean in the middle of a game.”
Look, yes, the Red Sox set the bar pretty low. But more importantly, we all saw the kid a few years back; blowing kisses at pitchers and drawing lines in the batter’s box. He was destined to be a gold mine of baditude and out-of-context quotes.
As bloggers, we cracked our knuckles and prepared ourselves for a golden age of site content, judging Bryce Harper from on high as he failed to use manners or shook someone’s hand wrong or stormed into the clubhouse after a strikeout, locked the door, and blasted some Linkin Park.
“YO MOM MORE HOT POCKETS,” we called up the stairs, but she did not hear us, for she was out filling a grocery cart with boxes of wine.
When the Nationals announced that their impossibly talented phenom was surfacing at the Major League level a few months ago–on a most likely permanent basis–we believed it was the dawning of our time. We cracked open our notebooks full of “lol Bryce Harper is immature” jokes and prepared to let all of our material write itself.
And what does he do? What does this arrogant, brash, hideously immature teenager do?
- In response to being struck in the spine by Cole Hamels:
“Hamels threw a great game tonight.”
“Definitely, coming in here and playing the Phillies who have been a great team and coming into a place that has a lot of history and a great organization. You’re playing in a place where Mike Schmidt and guys like that played. It’s going to be a lot of fun in here. They have a great fan base and we’re going to come in here and try to prove some people wrong.”
- In response to Ozzie Guillen’s recent criticism of the pine tar on his bat:
“[Guillen] battles for his team, and that’s the type of manager Ozzie is,” Harper said. “He’s a great manager to play for. He’s going to battle for you, no matter what. That’s a manager you want to play for.”
He starts complimenting everybody like some sort of decent human being.
I remember when I was a teenager. I walked the streets of my town, Catholic school uniform untucked, binder full of Magic: The Gathering cards under my arm, giving people the finger and chugging cough medicine behind the Wawa while simultaneously giving people the finger. It was a borderline psychotic attitude, according to several guidance counselors shaking their heads in disgust. And I possessed zero talents whatsoever.
Bryce at least is good enough at sports for us to complain about his shitty behavior being excused because of his high skill level. But nooooo, he has to go and be all gracious and accountable and in general very nice.
Baseball doesn’t need this kind of crap. We like our players awful and our games delayed by menace. Jim Thome’s and Raul Ibanez’s are nice and all, but what we’re really looking for is a guy who sets the headlines on fire; a guy whose Google Image search is full of pictures of him pointing and shouting and maybe kicking dirt on a little kid or something.
Sure, there have been brief flashes of skin-crawlingly cocksure behavior; the tantrum that bloodied his head; the pointing of the bat at Guillen; the trademarking of “That’s a clown question, bro.” But nothing that would send the Washington PR goons to his locker. Nothing that would allow us all to fold our arms and simultaneously claim that we were the first ones to see this coming.
Instead, we get this… an exciting young talent who isn’t behaving in the horrible manner which we expect from elite athletes and teenagers in general.
You’re disappointing everyone, Bryce. So man up and start acting like a child.