Bryce Harper has talked frequently of his youthful admiration for players like George Brett and Pete Rose, guys who “played the game absolutely as hard as they could every day.”
So it was inevitable that someone was going to ask Pete Rose whether Harper is the natural heir to his style of play.
That happened a few days ago, when SiriusXM MLB Network Radio’s Mike Ferrin and CJ Nitkowski asked Rose about Harper’s playing style.
“Here’s Bryce’s problem, okay?” Rose replied. (Audio here.) “Bryce growing up, I was his dad’s favorite player. I mean, that’s a fact. And there’s a difference in playing hard and playing recklessly. And Bryce plays recklessly. And there’s a reason for that. He was a catcher when he was here [in Las Vegas].
“Now all of a sudden they’ve got him in the outfield, and he don’t understand warning tracks, and he don’t understand every [ballpark] the caroms are different, the walls are different. Some are padded, some aren’t. You can’t turn around and run into the wall at Dodger Stadium face first. So what I would tell Davey Johnson – and he knows more about his team than I do – I would play Bryce Harper as deep as he possibly could, where anything over his head goes out of the ballpark. And that way he’s not gonna run into fences until he gets used to the different ballparks.”
Still, Rose seemed to endorse Harper’s general ethos.
“He’s not gonna get hurt by playing hard,” Rose said. “Who played harder than I did? I should rephrase that; he’s GONNA get hurt, but he’s not gonna hurt where it’s gonna take him out of the lineup for a length of time. Playing 162 games during a baseball season, there’s a lot of bumps and bruises. And you can’t bitch every time you get hit on the arm or something, or you slide into the second baseman and he spikes you on the knee or something. I mean, that’s just part of the game.”
Then Rose was asked whether he resents being constantly used as the poster child for playing hard.
“Not at all,” Rose answered. “I played the right way. That’s all I did. I played the right way. You ought to single out the guys that don’t play like I did. And you don’t have to run to first on a base on balls, but you’ve got to run to first hard when you hit a ground ball. You’ve got to try to go from first to third on a base hit to right field. You’ve got to make sure you can score from second on a base hit to center field. There’s just certain things you can do. And Mike Trout plays hard, he don’t get hurt like Bryce Harper, because he’s been there a couple years now and he understands where the walls are and where the fences are and different things like that. Bryce’ll be all right. Bryce’ll learn. He’s only a 20 year kid. He’s got a lot of talent.”
FAREWELL TO KEIM
John Keim, who has been a treasured colleague for, like, three or four weeks, is off to ESPN.com. We will miss him. I mean, as much as you can miss someone who’s been a treasured colleague for three or four weeks. But all congrats in the world to someone who deserves this.
VIDEO OF THE NIGHT
Watch John Wall do the Terio dance. If you don’t know what the Terio dance is, you’re a better person than I am. Read more here.
Jon Heyman on the Lerner Nine:
It’s been a stunningly rocky time for the Nats, who entered the year as a National League favorite by many accounts (including here), but now stand 52-54, a startling disappointment that triggered a couple drastic measures just this week, first the firing of Nats staple Eckstein, then the demotion to Triple-A of former No. 1 draft choice and closer Drew Storen. No one could imagine going into the season that the team that looked as flawless as any in baseball (it was hard to name a weakness) would turn into something of a soap opera.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
This is all bad. Like, really, really bad.
— Steven Oleksy (@StevenOleksy) July 29, 2013
PHOTO OF THE WEEEKEND
Not sure what’s going on here. But it seems cool.
— Redskins (@Redskins) July 27, 2013
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
Nothing. Book club time. All TV and radio listings are here.