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Max Scherzer talks Natitude, bat flips and Bryce Harper's reputation on 'Pardon My Take'

By Scott Allen

October 4, 2017 at 3:28 PM

Max Scherzer is a big fan of Natitude. (John Bazemore/Associated Press)

The Nationals retired their three-year-old “Natitude” slogan after the 2014 season, meaning Max Scherzer, who signed a seven-year deal with Washington in January 2015, never got to experience it. Scherzer brings plenty of his own attitude to the field every time he takes the mound, but he wouldn’t be opposed to bringing the slogan back.

“I wasn’t here for Natitude, but I always felt like that was a good hashtag,” Scherzer said during a recent appearance on Barstool Sports’ wildly popular and often irreverent podcast Pardon My Take. “I thought that was a good marketing campaign. I guess they did it long enough. I’ve always been a fan of Natitude. That’s a good slogan for us.”

During his 25-minute chat with Big Cat and PFT Commenter, which was recorded before the Nationals’ opponent in the National League Division Series was decided, Scherzer weighed in on a variety of other topics, from why he didn’t throw any punches in the Bryce Harper-Hunter Strickland brawl, to baseball’s unwritten rules, to how often Nationals Manager Dusty Baker mispronounces his name.

Related: [Max Scherzer’s status for the NLDS remains unclear]

“As soon as it happened, I did jump out, and I was ready to go out there and try to defend anything or just try to break it up,” Scherzer said of the Memorial Day brawl sparked by Strickland drilling Harper with a fastball because Harper hit a mammoth home run against him three years earlier. “But what I’ve found is, because of the mound, the fight is going to end up toward home plate. No one’s going to fight back uphill. When I ran out there, I was actually on the mound, so I had just missed it. If you don’t get there within that split-second, there’s people flying around everywhere so it gets crazy. I’ve learned my lesson. If you’re going out there to support somebody, you gotta go out there in front of the mound, not toward the mound.”

Given that former National Michael Morse sustained a concussion when he tried to separate Harper and Strickland and was sidelined for the remainder of the season, it’s probably best that Scherzer took the route that he did. Scherzer later defended Harper when asked about people “out there that are jealous of Bryce and the Nationals’ success” saying Harper is a jerk.

“I can see how maybe that reputation comes about, but the way he plays the game, he’s playing the game hard and he’s going out there and competing. He competes with a little flair, and sometimes that can rub people the wrong way, but when you have those guys on your team, you love those guys on your team, because you like the guys that play the game that way. There’s lots of players in this game where you probably can’t stand [them] when they’re across the diamond, but when they’re on your team, you love them. That’s my take on it.”

Here are a few other highlights from Scherzer’s interview, which featured much laughter. You can listen to the entire episode here.

On whether there’s locker room resentment over Harper’s hair:

“Locker room resentment? No. He just spends a lot of time in front of the mirror perfecting that hair. There are other guys that take their hair seriously on the team as well.”

On whether he gets mad at bat flips:

“No, not during the right moment. If it’s a big situation and it’s late in the game, and you hit a big home run and somebody were to bat flip? It’s happened to me where somebody bat flips. No, that doesn’t matter because that’s just a release of emotion, and I’m sure there have been times when I’ve fist-pumped on the mound after a strikeout. It’s emotion. But if it’s a calculated bat flip when you’re down, when you’re losing late in the game and somebody bat flips when they hit a home run, then it looks selfish. There’s a time and a place for everything, and if you’re doing it in the wrong time or the wrong place, that’s what’s going to draw irk from other players.”

On whether this is the Nationals’ year:

“Man, if there’s ever a year, this is the year. I’ve been in the postseason several times now and this team that we have going into the postseason, man, it’s one of the best teams I’ve been upon, just in terms of overall balance. You’re talking about speed guys, we have power, we have pitching, we have relief pitching. We really kind of have a combination of everything, and I think that bodes really well in the playoffs every time I’ve been there, that this group of guys that we have and the team that we have, we really expect big things out of us, and we know that we’ve got a tough challenge in front of us that’s most likely going to be the Cubs.”

Related: [The true, complete story of how the Nationals fixed baseball’s worst bullpen in two trades]

On whether his blue eye and brown eye represent his “clutch gene”:

“Let’s go with it. Why not? Why not accept that? Hey, I love having two different-colored eyes, so if there’s a way that you can spin it in a positive, let’s do it.”

On how often Baker mispronounces his name:

“He gets it right about half the time. He says ‘Surge’ like a water surge. … That’s what I hear sometimes. I’d say half the time I hear Scherzer, half the time I hear Surge.”

On the game plan to beat him:

“Why would I tell you? Because then the Cubs are going to listen to this.”

More on the Nationals:

What is ‘Awesome?’: Nats fan receives 40-foot banner inspired by ‘Jeopardy’ appearance.

Enjoy this Nationals playoff run. They’re not going to have a better chance.

Max Scherzer to test hamstring in bullpen Wednesday: ‘I’m pitching in the NLDS’

‘I doooooooo’: Eireann Dolan and Nats reliever Sean Doolittle eloped

Dusty Baker wants a World Series ring and a new contract. He believes he’s getting both.


Scott Allen writes about all things D.C. sports. Email him if you’ve got a tip to share.

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