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Nats GM: Bryce Harper is cocky and egotistical, but not malicious

He compares himself to Joe Namath and blows kisses to opposing pitchers after home runs, all before he’s seen a single pitch in the Majors. Bryce Harper‘s arrogance is tremendous and undeniable. Much so, in fact, that even his own GM won’t deny it. But Mike Rizzo wants you to know that Harper means well even though the Nationals’ budding phenom has episodes of douchiness.

“There’s not a malicious bone in his body,” the Nats GM said to The Washington Post on Tuesday. “Now, there’s a cocky bone in there. And there’s an ego bone. And there are other bones … but there’s not a malicious bone in his body.”

Rizzo also said that the club is working closely with Harper on how to improve his public relations. But even though Harper is still only a teenager, Rizzo expects the outfielder to hold himself to a higher standard.

“We’re not just saying that he’s a 19-year-old kid and that he’s making typical 19-year-old mistakes,” Rizzo said. “He’s a different case. He’s a special-case scenario. This guy is in the public eye. … When this guy tweets it out, or says something, it can go viral. There’s a difference here. We recognize it.”

Harper, who was drafted first overall in 2010, has a chance to make the Nationals out of Spring Training this year despite never playing higher than Class AA. So, some advice to him: Don’t be a headache for D.C. sports fans; Leave that to Daniel Snyder.

Photo credit: US Presswire

Bryce Harper wants to be like Joe Namath, have fun off the field

Bryce Harper may be only 19 years old and have enormous baseball potential, but he is not exactly the most lovable character. Harper marches to the beat of his own drum and doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks about it. That confidence likely has contributed to his success on the baseball field, but it also tends to irritate the people around him. Harper has struggled in the minors and would need to put in a ton of work to make the Nationals team this spring. If and when he does become a superstar athlete, however, he wants to live his life like Joe Namath.

“I’m going to be my own person,” Harper said in an interview with MLB.com. “There are a lot of professional athletes back in the old days that did what they wanted to do. That’s how I’m going to be. I’m going to prove myself on the field, so I can be that kind of guy off the field.

“I’m not a clown off the field. I just say things … I speak my mind and I think that’s good. If I speak my mind and people know the real me, then they are going to like me more. I’m not a liar. I say things I want to say. That’s how it is, I guess.

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Bryce Harper Named His Puppy ‘Swag’

The cute little puppy pictured above belongs to Washington Nationals super-prospect, Bryce Harper. Harper apparently got the puppy as a Christmas gift, and he shared a picture of the rascal via Twitter. Harper also said he named the chocolate lab “Swag.”

The same guy who blows kisses to opposing pitchers after hitting home runs would also name his dog Swag. Such a Bryce Harper thing to do it’s not even surprising.

Forearm bash to Nats Enquirer via Deadspin

Bryce Harper Pumped to Be on Mike Trout’s Arizona Fall League Team

Before we start making fun of Bryce Harper because he makes it so easy, let us first pay him a compliment.  Good for you, Bryce.  That was very mature of you to reach out to a future teammate and tell him how excited you are to be joining forces.

Harper recently sent a tweet to Angels prospect Mike Trout to convey his excitement about their Arizona Fall League team: “Me and Mike Trout on the same AFL (Arizona Fall league) team!” Harper wrote. “Love how this years working out! We’re stacked with talent. @Trouty20.”

Trout — who belted two home runs on Tuesday — and Harper are indeed two of the best prospects in baseball and should anchor a strong lineup.  Heck, it doesn’t even sound like Bryce will get bored with the team like he has with some others in the past.

While the Tweet is harmless, I just enjoy picking on Harper.  Saying stuff like this and blowing kisses to pitchers really lets his age show through.  Tell me you can’t rememeber playing intramural sports when you were younger and being pumped when your buddies got picked for your team.  Who hasn’t had the “we’re gonna be stacked this year” talk with their friends when they were 14 years old?  As long as Harper’s having fun I guess that’s all that matters.  Oh yeah, and as long as he doesn’t ever wear his hair like this again.

Fist pound to Halos Heaven for pointing out the Harper tweet.

Bryce Harper Ejected for Arguing Third Strike Call (Video)

D-bag alert: Bryce Harper is up to his old antics.  For a kid who’s only 18 years old, Harper has to have the most inflated ego in the history of professional baseball.  He may even have LeBron James beat, but that’s a discussion for another day.  Bryce is now playing Double-A ball — since he was no longer interested in Single-A — where he is hitting a mediocre .255 in 30 games.  Perhaps it’s the umpires.  Check out this Bryce Harper ejection video, courtesy of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Baseball blog:

Surprising? Not exactly.  This is the same Bryce Harper who thought he looked cool with this hairstyle and actually blew a kiss to an opposing pitcher after hitting a home run.  Even if he turns into a Hall of Famer someday, you have to wonder how MLB players will put up with him in the clubhouse.  People have advised Harper that he needs to check his ego, but at this point he doesn’t seem to care.

Nats Officials Say Scrutiny Bryce Harper Faces Is Similar to Jackie Robinson

Bryce Harper has become a punching bag here at LBS because of his questionable on-field behavior. His arrogance on the field includes actions such as showing up umpires and blowing kisses at opponents. It got so bad we had to sack him with the LBS Nut Bag.

Thing is, the scrutiny Harper has received is the result of appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16 (his parents’ fault), and his poor behavior. Simply put, only he and his family is responsible for being a disliked public figure, not anyone else. That’s what makes the references in a Sports Illustrated article so insulting.

As The Washington Post points out, two Nationals officials compared the level of scrutiny Bryce Harper faces to what Jackie Robinson went through.

From Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris:

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Bryce Harper Lost Focus in Single-A Because it Wasn’t Fun

Bryce Harper continues to ooze with charm. In an interview with CSN Washington prior to his second game with Double-A Harrisburg, the Nationals’ super prospected acted like his typical cocky self. He says he lost focus playing for Single-A Hagerstown and said he was doing things he shouldn’t have been doing (what? like this?). Don’t take it from me, take it from Bryce:

Gotta love Harper. He tried to get jersey No. 34 from a teammate even though he’s only going to be with Harrisburg for a few months. He makes a request like that yet he won’t pay the $1,200 price? And then he butchers the kid’s name? Man, he makes it very easy to dislike him.

Bryce Harper is one of the most talented young hitters on the planet, but he comes up tremendously short in the respect department. We’re going to have to find some middle ground here because I have a feeling we’ll be covering Harper for the next 20 years and there’s only so many times we can sack him with the LBS Nut Bag.

Thanks to Eye on Baseball for the link