It's not baseball's major leagues but a lowly game in the Class A South Atlantic League that's got sports fans across the nation arguing today. They're debating whether cocky Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was just having some fun or being a pompous jerk when he blew a kiss to a pitcher while jogging round the bases. My money's on the latter.
The way the story goes, Harper, an outfield prospect who has been rated baseball's equivalent to LeBron James in terms of his potential, hit a homer off Greensboro pitcher Zach Neal. Any homer is a big deal, but the game between Hagerstown and Greensboro was scoreless at that point, so this was especially big, and Harper put on a show of watching the ball arc through the air and carefully throwing his bat before he took off down the first base line. THEN, he topped it with the smooch.
What a jerk! Either one is over the top. Together, and I've got to say it: this kid is itching to be knocked down a peg or two. Check it out:
See? Jerk! Baseball isn't a microcosm of the world. You have cocky people in any job (and yes, as much as we fans like to look at it as this mystical place where the players are there solely for the love of the game, these guys do need a paycheck at the end of the day!). There are people who are on the same level as one another who manage to lord any hint of an advantage over their "co-workers" that they can. Pomposity can't be corrected by putting folks on equal payscales.
Being talked up by the likes of Sports Illustrated early on in his career has apparently given Harper the sense that he's one of the guys who will make it up and out, that he's somehow "better." Except, it doesn't work that way, does it? Not at work. Not in families. Not on playgrounds. Not on a baseball field.
You can know you're good. You can have fun. Like I said, Harper could have pulled just one of the stunts -- maybe admired the ball flying and been casual about how long he took WITHOUT the whole pucker and blow bit -- and he'd have been fine. But put it all together, and he comes off as a guy who needs to grow up and realize everyone's there to do the same job. Some are just classier about it.
If he does make it to the majors, Bryce Harper definitely blew his shot at my fanship. What do you think? Was Bryce Harper a jerk or just having some fun?