Friday, August 27, 2010, 9:53 a.m.
By Holden Kushner
Bryce Harper made a very good first impression. If he were a stock, Id be buying all in.
His professional legend was born yesterday when he clubbed a batting practice fastball three rows into the Nationals Park upper deck in right field. Nats players said theyd only seen Adam Dunn deposit baseballs there.
Harper is just 17-years-old.
Hes mature beyond his years. Ive been through some of the stuff Strasburg has, Harper said.
Youve got to love a kid that feels like hes endured the same fan and media scrutiny that Stephen Strasburg has had to, only five years sooner.
The kid has a quite of bit of cockiness to him and thats NOT a bad thing. Especially given that the Nationals' two most popular players in Ryan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg lack a certain edge in their personalities that would make them more marketable on the national stage.
At his introductory press conference, Harper looked like a young Johnny Cash with a faux hawk. He was wearing a black suittuxedo (looked like a hybrid to me), boots, and a pink tie. It was definitely a unique style. He just doesnt seem to care about what you think about him because if he feels like it looks good, it must look good.
His father, Ron Harper, told me that his son was out for a run without his shirt on Wednesday morning. Bryce made it up to the Capitol steps and once he made it to the top, pumped his fists up in the air.
It reminded me of that famous scene in Rocky. So when I told the kid, Rocky was filmed in Philly, this is D.C., he countered with, Maybe I should run there!
Its exactly what I wanted to hear. Kind of like, Id do it again and in a town where theyre going to boo me someday.
This franchise needs the opportunity to view greatness. This town needs greatness. Bryce Harper has shown greatness on the field at every level hes ever played. Hes proven himself at little league to high school to college and now at BP in Nationals Park.
He respects the history of the game (Mickey Mantle is his favorite player) and plans on knocking down all the records the legends of this sport have set.
Harper knows hes a special talent and he flaunts it. He has on-field talent, brains (he attended Junior College at 16 years of age) and charisma.
Baseballs Chosen One has it all. Youre gonna love him when he gets here in a couple of years.
Sound like I am rooting for his guy?
The Nats need help. He should be able to help them in more ways than one.
Hurry up Harper. The Nationals need you. D.C. needs you.