(Al Behrman/AP)

One thing I hope never to be annoyed by, though, is athletes who hustle too much. I’m sure I’ll eventually be disgusted by outlandish uniform styles, or ridiculous hair cuts, or celebrations paying homage to obscure dance steps from the mountains of Spain. But hustle? Hustle seems okay to me. When hustle is offensive, maybe it’s time to stop watching sports.

But not to Tim McCarver. No sir, you’d better stop all your silly hustling, you dang young whippersnapper, until we tell you it’s time to hustle.

Here is the venerable announcer, talking about Bryce Harper to USA Today:

Harper’s unbridled enthusiasm raises eyebrows. He’s already being compared to Pete Rose, which Fox broadcaster and former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver says is nonsense. He wonders when someone will talk to Harper about slowing down.

“When the ball is hit 15 feet foul, and he’s on second base,” McCarver says, “it’s time to talk. I understand youthful enthusiasm, but it’s unbridled enthusiasm....”

The newspaper also noted that Harper is already facing resentment and that he “wore an eccentric hairstyle when he got called up in April, only to get a haircut and shave two weeks later.”

The nerve. I mean, the sheer, brazen, heathen nerve of a kid to wear an eccentric hairstyle, AND THEN TO GET A HAIRCUT AND A SHAVE WITHIN JUST TWO WEEKS.

And how does Harper answer to the charge of unbridled enthusiasm?

“I just play the game in a different way,” he told the paper. “I play the game hard and run out everything. That’s the only way I know how to play the game, and I’m going to play it that way my whole career.”

Oh, and by the way, perhaps Harper is also to blame for the Nats’ recent string of injuries.

“I think — only half joking — that some of the vets have been TOO inspired by Harper’s hustle,” Boz wrote in his chat this week. “They want to hold up their end. Flores slid head-first into third base the other day. Nooooo!! And Tracy probably should have been jogging out that double instead actually taking a fairly firm turn at 1st base.”

Damn kids and their unbridled enthusiasm.

(Via William World News)