19 year old Bryce Harper was quick to answer a reporter in June of 2012 “That’s a clown question bro”… well the shoe is on the other foot with what I believe is a “clown answer.” Harper who is the face of the “Make Baseball Fun Again” movement may just be talking out of both sides of his mouth. I truly believe the 23 year old wants to make the game fun again, because baseball clearly struggles with the 365 day a year media machine that the NFL puts out. Here in Milwaukee for example, our television news sports segments run some blip about the Packers everyday, the Brewers during the off season – not so much.
If he does indeed want to make the game fun again, and rejuvenate it as our Nation’s “Nation’s Pastime,” why then wouldn’t he want to play in the every four year World Baseball Classic that takes place just before and coincides with the beginning of Spring Training . According to his words to a reporter from CSN Mid-Atlantic:
“I think when you really look at it, if the guys play that you really want to play with, then definitely I’ll play. But if we’re not going to have the opportunity to win, then I don’t want to play. If we do that, then I’m definitely in. If not, I probably won’t do it.”
Wait, what?! So if the game’s biggest stars like Trout, Bryant, Syndgaard, to name a few aren’t in… then he’s not? The World Baseball Classic is baseball’s way of showcasing their sport around the world, to show how it can be fun to impressionable youth around the globe.
Don’t forget that these players get paid to compete as well. The money isn’t the big bucks they are used to, but it’s equivalent to an “average Joe Lunchbucket’s” annually salary. The paychecks should be bigger than last time in 2013 (competition is every 4 years) due to it’s increased popularity (which Harper can bring) equaling increased revenue in which the players see a 50/50 split between MLB and the teams (the winning team gets more, but you get my drift).
If money isn’t the driving force in this Bryce Harper scenario, than what is, not getting injured? The games may play a stamina role with pitchers, there are guidelines so pitchers don’t burn themselves out, but an outfielder? A position player can get hurt just as easily during spring training.
The only real exception that’s understandable to me at least, would be a player coming off injury.
I hope Bryce reconsiders his thoughts on waiting until the other MLB “young guns” commit to play. Be a LEADER Bryce, NOT a follower.
(photos courtsey of getty, sportingnews, thesportster, worldbaseballclassic)