Thursday, June 4, 2009
Is This Kid Serious?
On the cover of the most recent Sports Illustrated you will find a young man from Las Vegas, NV named Bryce Harper. At age 16 he is already 6'3" and over 200 pounds. He also hits mammoth home run shots, steals bases, throws over 90mph and guns would be base stealers down from behind the plate. Scouts have already ranked him as more promising than A-Rod, Ken Griffey Jr. or Justin Upton. Before this whole thing gets out of hand (as if it hasn't already) I would like to be the first to tell everybody to stop worshipping this kid already. Moreover, Harper needs to pull his head out of his ass before this whole thing blows up in his face.
Sports fans love a good story, and that is exactly what this kid is. At age 16, Harper shouldn't be able to do what he is doing. He is like Roy Hobbs, Henry Rowengartner, Nuke LaLoosh and Benny the Jet Rodriguez all rolled into one. However, we have seen many players like this before. Not too long ago I was reading a story about a similar player from California named Matt Harrington. He was supposed to be the next great pitching prospect, but unfortunately he refused to sign his contract with the Rockies after being drafted 7th overall, and then got injured several times. He never made it to the majors and is now working at Costco. We also recently heard about the young pitcher Patrick Schuster in Florida who had 4 straight no-hitters. He was very close to tying the record of 6 in a row by Chris Taranto and Tom Engle. Who are they you might ask? Exactly.
I don't wish any harm on this kid by any means, but when he is only 16 it is way too early to start rarefying him like this. After all, he has never pitched against good hitting, faced great pitching or hit a tall jack with a wooden bat. Meanwhile he is saying things like:
"Be in the Hall of Fame, definitely," says Harper when asked by Verducci about his goals. "Play in Yankee Stadium. Play in the pinstripes. Be considered the greatest baseball player who ever lived. I can't wait."
My advice to you Mr. Harper is to shut your mouth for about 5 or 6 years and to keep working hard. There are a lot of things that can happen along the way, and if people are expecting this much from you already there is nowhere to go but down. The SI Cover jinx probably isn't gonna help either.