Nationals phenom Bryce Harper is a fan favorite as he signs autographs before… (Kathy Willens / Associated…)
I like hype. I live for hype. Ethier too much or not enough, both work for me. It sells, baby, and I’m all about selling. It’s another post and more hits, and how about that hype machine?
It’s in overdrive Saturday, and all you can do is sit back and enjoy the wonder. Whether watching Phenom No.1 Bryce Harper make his debut for the Nationals against the Dodgers or Phenom No.2 Mike Trout with the Angels, it’s hype overdrive. It’s a beautiful thing.
Wrote ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick: “Based on all the hype, Harper should arrive in Los Angeles on Saturday aboard a winged chariot, amid peals of thunder, blaring trumpets and a shower of golden confetti.”
I was thinking more rose petals thrown at his feet, but then I remembered Harper was 19 and certainly would not ever want to be accused of getting carried away. Although that winged chariot idea is a killer.
Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell writes no matter how this turns out, it’s a movie waiting to happen and calls it “authentic sports theater.” He envisions this scene, as Syracuse triple-A manager Tony Beasley called Harper into his office Friday:
“The Big Club needs you in the Show.”
“When do you think, kid? Tomorrow, Dodger Stadium, left field. Oh, yeah, Stephen Strasburg’s pitching and Vin Scully’ll be calling the game. Now, get out of my office. You got what it takes.”
Now just maybe, you think I’m overreacting a tad to Harper’s call-up; you know, in my childish efforts to get more cheap hits. If only I were half as clever.
This is the former No.1 draft pick and Sports Illustrated cover boy at age 16 with the headline, “Baseball’s Chosen One.”
Wrote Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown:
“Due in part to his age, in part to his talent, in part to his story and in part to the information age in which he is being raised as a man and developed as a ballplayer, Harper is the most hyped prospect in the history of the game, which, by the way, seems to suit him fine.”
Dodgers utility player Jerry Hairston Jr., who was with the Nationals last year, told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez that Harper already has the appearance of a player at least 25.
“I see a lot of Jay Bruce, Larry Walker,” Hairston said. “People forget how great Larry Walker was. Larry Walker was one of the premier right fielders in the game.”
Harper’s pending arrival is a big enough deal that after it was announced Friday, MLB.TV suddenly decided to broadcast Saturday’s game. That would be the one where the Dodgers play the role of bit players to the Harper Show, for the moment even bigger than the Strasburg Show.
Harper’s early arrival at this particularly was actually inspired by injuries, not that it matters to me. He was hitting .250 at triple-A with one homer and three RBI, not that it matters to me.
Harper’s here and so is a jaw-sized hype machine. Now hit me.
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