The Harper Situation

A lot of interesting stuff happened over Easter weekend in the world of baseball. The one thing that peaked my interest the most was the Bryce Harper benching incident. My interest was truely peaked when I was listening to Jonathan Coachman on Coach and Company on ESPN Radio while driving down to my Aunt April and Uncle Ed’s house. My mom had to calm me down because I almost screamed in frustration.

If you haven’t heard the story yet, I’ll let you know what happened. In the 6th inning of the Nationals’ game against the Cardinals, Bryce Harper grounded out to the pitcher for the first out of the inning; in Matt Williams’ eyes, he did not hustle. Here’s the play so you can make the call. But remember that Harper has a quad injury right now as well, so he is not at 100%.

I have a couple of thoughts on the issue.

The first one is how fast does Williams think Harper is? He clearly was not walking, but he was not jogging either. He was not at a full sprint, but he did not lack hustle in the way that should cause a benching. I understand that he is a star player and has been in the public eye since he hit the cover of Sports Illustrated at the age of 16. However, if Williams’ did nothing, his players would still have respect for him and wouldn’t have even thought twice about the incident especially with Harper’s injury.

The other issue I have with it is something that stems back to last season, but my intruige was reignited by Coachman. It came specifically from this statement, which I am going to paraphrase. Coachman said that he would be surprised if Mike Trout did what Harper did, but he was not surprised by Harper.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

I love Mike Trout, but I think I’d be more surprised if Harper didn’t hustle.

He was dead serious too. My mouth dropped, and I almost dropped an F-bomb in front of my mother. Luckily, I did not.

You know the type of person Coachman probably was last year after Harper got his concussion from running into a wall when he did not need to? He was probably the guy that was preaching Harper should tone it back a notch because he will get hurt too often otherwise. Sports talk show hosts cannot have it both ways! If he decides to tone it back a notch when he is hurt and you have been preaching he needs to tone it down otherwise he will continue to get hurt, YOU CANNOT SAY HE DID NOT HUSTLE HARD ENOUGH!

Harper plays baseball with more hustle than anyone I have ever watched. It is incredible. I still remember his baserunning against Cole Hamels that got him hit. It was one of the best moments of the 2012 season. Harper is one of the best athletes in the game and gives it his all in every single instance, even if it puts him in harms way. I wouldn’t have thought anything of the play had Williams not pulled him, so I think Williams overreacted and created a story for desperate sports’ reporters. Harper will be one of the best baseball players in the league soon and will most likely win an MVP within 5 years. People should lay off him for less than average effort by Harper’s standards when he is hurt. Overall, I think this should have never happened in the first place, and I would be willing to bet that this will never happen to Harper again.

Greg Danchik

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