By Frank Costagliola
It’s hard to believe that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is entering into his fifth year of baseball. At 23 years old, Harper is already one of the game’s best, and while he’s making tremendous strides on the field, Harper also has a mission off the field.
“MAKE BASEBALL FUN AGAIN.” That is his one man mission and that is what he wore stitched on a cap after addressing the media on opening day. In addition to making this bold statement on live TV, the Washington Nationals didn’t hesitate at the chance to make a profit and are now selling merchandise with Harper’s controversial words plastered all over it.
Harper wants to make it clear that this is not a part of any marketing scheme with his team, but rather a message that he truly believes in. Harper believes that players can’t express themselves on the baseball field and those who do are frowned upon by some of the more traditional fans.
Harper can be seen as more than just the game’s best players though, he can also been seen as a trailblazer, who prides himself on tradition and class.
Harper is willing to say things that other baseball players typically wouldn’t. Maybe Harper is just being young and brash since he is only 23 years old, but he is continuing to put up a fight to make the sport that once ruled the American sports scene.
Take for instance Jose Bautista’s bat flip during game five of American League Division Series last season.
The bat flip soon became a topic of controversy in the sports world, where some found it as galvanizing, while others found it unsportsmanlike.
One player who loved every second of it was Bryce Harper. Harper believed that the situation warranted the bat flip and it was a pivotal moment in not only the game, but the entire series. Somehow one monster home run and one epic bat flip managed to bring the whole city of Toronto together during the Blue Jay’s postseason run last season.
“That was just a huge situation,” Harper told ESPN. “And it’s like I was saying. You never know what you’re going to do. You have a whole country behind you.
“And being able to show an emotion in the playoffs … I mean, I have no idea what I would have done if I had hit that homer. I have no clue. So I enjoyed seeing it.”
Whether or not you agree with Bautista’s bat flip and Harper’s bold statement, Bryce is on a mission. That mission being to make what he believes is a stale sport, fun once more.