There are few baseball players, or athletes in sports for that matter, who can match the influence and far-reaching impact of Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. We knew that was true when he blew a kiss to an opposing pitcher during a minor league game and it was clear when he said he wanted to be like Broadway Joe Namath. People everywhere cared and everybody formed an opinion of the then-teenager, for better or worse.
One incident, however, perhaps most exemplified the Harper’s sky-high Q rating. It was one sentence, just five words, but the impact was extraordinary.
“That’s a clown question, bro.”
It all started because a reporter asked Harper if he would celebrate his legendary home run in Toronto with a beer, as he was of the legal drinking age in Canada. The response was quick and instinctual, but the quote went everywhere. It even permeated politics.
Harper’s quote was an instant sensation in sports and pop culture in general. It was so big, in fact, ESPN.com has named it the number one sports quote of 2012.
In their list of 50 memorable lines from the past year, ESPN says this about Harper and why he finishes first overall:
“Five words. Five words is all it took for Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper to shut down a reporter’s question about whether he planned to drink a beer in Canada. Five words is all it took for Harper to give birth to a meme. Five words is all it took for Harper to be invoked in the halls of Congress.
And, remember, Harper was only a 19-year-old rookie in 2012. He has just begun to scratch the surface of his potential for producing memorable and concise bro-based one-liners. At this rate, it won’t be long before every phrase he utters is quoted, referenced, trademarked and repurposed. He is the voice of a generation. The Broet Laureate of the Millenials, if you will.”
‘Broet Laureate of the Millenials,’ eh? Not the catchiest of nicknames, but it is creative.
Whatever you want to call Harper, he will probably make many of these types of lists in the future. He just has a way of attracting attention, even when he isn’t trying to.
Harper’s quote was surely memorable, but for Nats fans the entire 2012 season was full of headline grabbing one-liners. None of the others made ESPN’s list, but the 2012 Nationals season could have a list of its own.
Here are some that quickly come to mind:
“Strikeouts are b*******.” – Steve McCatty on his pitching philosophy
“I didn’t know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss.” - Davey Johnson on Rays’ manager Joe Maddon
“Just finding a ball in my honey hole, what I want to hit.” - Tyler Moore on his sweet spot
“I can’t really tell you what the problem was, but some Hot Stuff got misplaced.” - Johnson on Stephen Strasburg’s rough start vs. San Diego in May
“Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough.” - Mike Rizzo after Hamels said he beaned Harper on purpose
“I had no clue. I had no idea. When the guy handed me this shirt, he just handed it to me and I was wondering what it was and it said ‘playoffs.’ I was just wondering like, ‘what happened?’ I guess we clinched a playoff berth.” - Harper on when the Nats secured a playoff spot
“The pimp with the limp.” - Gio Gonzalez in reference to owner Mark Lerner
"You know, and they can fire me… I mean, we should make the playoffs. There's no doubt in my mind." - Johnson before the season to CSNwashington on his expectations for 2012
“Hopefully I get a couple boos… I'm excited to get up there and play. Hopefully they don't throw any batteries at me." - Harper on playing in Philadelphia for the first time
“Daddy strength... they say when you have a kid, you get stronger. Thanks, Grayson.” - Ian Desmond on his boost in home power numbers
"Kill it... it’s the worst thing in sports. Sit down and watch the game." - Ryan Matheus on the wave at Nats Park
Were there more? Let us know what was left off the list.