Last year’s National League MVP, Bryce Harper was quoted recently as saying baseball is a tired sport. He makes the comment in reference to Major League Baseball not condoning more individualism when it comes to expressing your emotions on the diamond. Of course everybody knows Harper is an emotional person and player and has done just that, expressed his emotions on the diamond. I don’t really see Harper as doing anything highly unrespectable to the point that it hasn’t been done before. I would take him on my team in a heartbeat because he does play with fire.
The rub is that some of antics he is accused of doing such as staring down benches, admiring his home run a little too long and getting in a dugout altercation last year with his teammate Jason Palpelbon. Sometimes I feel embarrassed for him because he can’t help himself. I do think he is ultra-competitive and just wants to win above everything.
As far as the expression of emotions in MLB, it has always been a fine line. If you show too much glee in your accomplishments you will be sure to hear about it from the other team. If you stand in the batter’s box just a moment too long after hitting a home run, be prepared to hear about from somebody. What I think Harper doesn’t understand that as old as baseball is, he can’t change the old codes of conduct overnight. The game is so bathed in tradition that his antics will always appear to be “look at me” and not about team play.
Even though the NFL has passed MLB in popularity, it is not because of expression of individualism. The NFL is a game that translates well to television, especially with our gigantic screens and then you throw in some gambling and you have some engaging entertainment. Baseball will never be the most compelling sport to watch every minute of every game. Most people like it because anybody can play it or has played some form of baseball or softball. They like the idea of the laziness of sitting in the stands and enjoying refreshment and cheering for a little excitement. It is can be a cerebral for many as well as much as being just background scenery in a bar while chewing the fat with a buddy.
If Bryce Harper wants to dye his hair purple then go ahead, you will look a fool to your opponent s and fans who will give much grief. Maybe Harper needs to play on a championship team to be humbled to point where he won’t feel the “game is tired”. I believe baseball has changed a lot since I was a kid. Players are sporting hillbilly beards and long greasy hair, there are fewer and fewer Afro-American players and everybody shows up to a game with a phone. Beer cost over ten dollars for twenty five cents worth and a really good hot dog is over five dollars. Too me, these concession prices are what need changing not the fact Bryce Harper want to be able to flip his bat any damn time he pleases. Baseball needs to realize that every game could be sold out if it was affordable for a whole family and hot dogs should only be $2. That will never get tired.
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