Bryce Harper’s latest exquisite bit of base-running derring-do came last Thursday, when he turned a sure-double into a triple and then scored on a comebacker to the mound. Adam Kilgore wrote about it:
Harper did not behave like other major league baserunners. He did not take two quiet steps back to third base. He ran like the fastest kid in Little League, the one who runs until he is tagged out and makes other parents want to look at his birth certificate. He ran like someone dared him to. Harper darted, hell-bent for home.”
Pretty good picture. And Kilgore wasn’t the only one who thought of it. Here’s Mark DeRosa, singing Harper’s praises on the MLB Network this week:
“I think a lot of people got it wrong on this guy,” DeRosa said. “What a great guy to be around. What a talent at 19 years old. Eighteen homers, the way he competes. The way he runs the bases is hilarious, it’s like he’s still playing tee ball — run around til someone tags you out. Yeah, he’s fiery, he’s definitely been under a microscope for the majority of his life, so I’m sure it’s got to be frustrating for him at times. But behind the scenes and in the clubhouse, we’ve embraced him, he’s embraced being a part of this team. And I certainly enjoy watching him play.”
“To be honest with you, I feel bad for Steve” DeRosa said. “I sat with him [Sunday] during the game and talked to him at length about how he was shut down. He feels like he’s letting us down, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“You want to be honest: I’m a guy who’s all-in,” DeRosa continued. “You might never get this opportunity again, to have these three pitchers healthy at the same time, going into a postseason run, a chance to really do something special. But at the end of the day this was discussed by world-renowned doctors, our general manager Mike Rizzo, and they were gonna do it from Day 1 of Spring. Us getting upset about it is not gonna get Stephen back on the mound. So we’ve moved on. He’ll be on the bench with us, and we’ll keep going.”
Then DeRosa was asked if he might have tried to argue his way back onto the field.
“I mean, that would have been something I would have done,” he agreed. “I would have walked into the general manager’s office and basically said I’ll be in the bullpen every fifth day. But I guess this is something that, behind the scenes, has been discussed for a long time. And I don’t think it’s gonna change.
“They see Stephen’s future as being so bright, and having a chance to do so many miraculous things for this organization, that they’re not gonna let him go past this. I guess the doctors that he’s dealt with are the best in the world, and they’re saying that this is kind of where he needs to shut it down and start building towards next year.”
DeRosa also gave the Network his National League power rankings, as seen here. He has the Nats ranked No. 1.