Baseball’s old guard has been looking for every excuse to take Bryce Harper down a peg. This blog touched on how, since all that Don Draper does is win, he's a less than sympathetic character. Bryce is similar to Draper, only real. And a baseball player. And 20 years old.
Harper’s first-inning ejection yesterday in a game against the Pirates was a classic example of an old-school umpire, John Hirshbeck, putting the smack down on a 20-year old wunderkind:
"I didn’t like that he put his hands up with the bat," Hirschbeck said. "That’s kind of what I yelled at him. He continued and threw his bat. I kind of pointed like, ‘That’s equipment.’ And then, he still continued and slammed his helmet down. That’s when I ejected him.
"I was actually just being nice. Even the hands up in the air is showing me up, to me. I could have ejected him right then. I was nice enough to leave him in the game. And then he slammed his bat down. And then on top of that, he slammed his helmet. I had no other recourse, really."
Athletes like Harper, on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16, who have the caption ‘Chosen One' plastered over their photo, always have to climb an impossibly steep hill of expectations. Hirshbeck has been in the Majors longer than Harper has been alive. But does that mean he was right to eject Harper? Let's run the tape.
Watching the video, the entire series of events happens way too fast and both Harper and Hirshbeck seem extra testy. But Harper’s checkered past of getting into it with officials doesn’t help his cause.
A pre-draft profile that drops the ‘e’ word (emphasis mine):
It's impossible to find any talent evaluator who isn't blown away by Harper's ability on the field, but it's equally difficult to find one who doesn't genuinely dislike the kid. One scout called him among the worst amateur players he's ever seen from a makeup standpoint, with top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents.
Harper also doesn’t do himself any favors with his haircut.
Harper's trademark ‘rockabilly’ or ‘Pompadour' screams ‘Vegas Douche Bag.’ I’ve seen that same cut on a 38-year old club promoter at Wet Republic, buying vod-crans for 19-year old Arizona State undergrads and pronouncing Deadmau5 as ‘Dead Mau-Five.'
Bryce Harper is one of Major League Baseball’s great young talents, he has a legion of fans, many of them young kids, and no one in the Nationals front office is correcting that freak show of a hair cut? It just reinforces the ‘e’ word. Entitled.