October 10, 2016

It’s the post-season, which means I have to write about baseball!

Not everyone agrees with what he has to say but the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper speaks openly and directly on all things baseball.  While other players seem to tip-toe around topics that they may feel are best left to owners or managers, Harper is candid in sharing his opinion on everything from the All-Star game to designated hitters. During the regular season, Dan Steinberg, D.C. sports writer for the Washington Post, reviewed Harper’s comments from several recent interviews. As it turns out, according to Steinberg, Harper is nearly always spot-on.

On the Designated Hitter (DH):

I think we should outlaw the DH… That’s just me. I like the National League version of the game. ~ Harper, in an interview with Collin Cowherd

Harper plays for a National League team, so that seems like a given. But, according to Steinberg, Harper’s opinion is shared by nearly every “baseball-nerdist Internet cognoscenti” out there.

On the All-Star Game and Home Field Advantage

Criticizing a long-standing tradition, Harper went on record against the rule that whichever league wins the All-Star game earns home field advantage in the World Series.

I’ve got to say that I think the best record in baseball should have home-field advantage, no matter what. Best record. I mean, I don’t think [the All-Star] game should mean anything. It’s coming out here, having fun, enjoying the game. ~ from an appearance on the MLB Network. 

On Making Baseball Fun Again (and a patriotic bat)

Harper, who ultimately chose to respect the rules of the game and used a regulation bat, came under pressure for a patriotic design he had hoped to use for the 4th of July game, a gesture he felt was an expression of freedom as much as part of the “Make Baseball Fun Again” campaign.

I mean, what’s more American than going out there and having a Fourth of July bat, an American flag bat with the Statue of Liberty on it? There’s nothing. I mean, it’s amazing. I really try to just have some fun with it, enjoy that and not take the game so serious with being so sensitive. … I’m not trying to be your friend out there, I’m trying to win games, but I want to have fun as well. That’s just how I feel. ~ also from the interview with Cowherd

When Harper feels strongly about something, he’s not afraid to voice it, even if he knows it counters the league view.

Speaking of Non-Regulation Bats…

Those of us who attended the last regular season Nationals’ game heard a member of the symphony orchestra play the Star-Spangled Banner on an Electrified Louisville Slugger baseball bat, handling it much like a violin. In my opinion, Harper is right again – there is room for more fun and excitement in baseball, and a remarkably creative bat definitely has a place on the field.

The reality is nearly everything Harper says about baseball is steeped in candor – he has the courage to be open, honest and respectful, even when he says something unpopular or against tradition.

Click here to read Dan Steinberg’s original article in The Washington Post.