Bryce Harper on his religious beliefs: ‘I’m not going to be Mr. Tim Tebow’

Bryce Harper NationalsWe all know that Tim Tebow is a very, very religious man. He has always gone out of his way to spread the Christian faith and thank God for all the good that has happened in his life. Less people know about Bryce Harper’s religious faith, although he takes it just as seriously.

Harper is a devout Mormon. He writes “Luke 1:37″ on every autograph he signs, which is a bible verse that reads, “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” According to The Washington Times, Harper also attended seminary classes at 5 a.m. every weekday during high school. However, he said he tries not to share his religious beliefs with anyone unless they ask.

“If somebody asks me about it, I’ll tell them about it, but I’m not going to be Mr. Tim Tebow,” he said, noting that he meant no offense toward Tebow.

Other religious NFL players have accused Tebow of talking about his faith too much. Unlike other Mormons, Harper decided not to go on a Mormon mission but instead pursue a career in professional baseball. He said that decision was driven by his mother’s advice.

“My mom always told me, ‘You can touch a lot more lives playing baseball and doing good things than you would on a mission,’” Harper said. “It’s very true. Shoot, I’ll tweet about God and get 1,500 retweets and it’s like, that just went to 1,500 people or more.

“I’m going to try to be the best person I can off the field [and promote my faith that way]. What I say is, ‘I try to be the best walking Book of Mormon as I can.’”

Instead of preaching, Harper simply turns reporters into a punchline if they ask a “clown” question about him doing something that would go against his religious beliefs. As they say, to each his own.

Bryce Harper admits body has hurt since slamming into wall

Bryce Harper wallBryce Harper has been battling injuries for most of the season and even said he might need knee surgery in the coming months. He missed about five weeks with a knee injury, and he’s missed some time lately with a hip injury. Harper told CSN Washington in an interview that he traces a lot of his health problems back to when he slammed into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium on May 13.

“Ever since I hit the wall, pretty much every day I feel something different,” Harper told CSN Washington. “When something else feels better, the next thing hurts. It’s pretty much just the left side of my whole body. That’s the only thing that hurts me, really. Everything on the right side of my body feels great. If the right side of my body felt like the left side of my body, I’d probably be screwed.”

There was a huge debate about the way Harper plays the game following that play. Harper left the game after bloodying his face, but no major injuries were reported. He missed the Nationals’ next game and pinch hit in the following game before returning to the lineup regularly.

Harper was unapologetic for knocking himself out of the game on the play, while the world’s most notorious hustler said Harper played the game “recklessly.

Harper later admitted he was scared to crash into a wall again. After hearing his recent comments, maybe now we know that he is scared of that because he wants to preserve his long-term health.

Harper is batting .275/.378/.507 this season. He’s played in 100 games this season and will end up seeing less action this year than last despite not opening the season with the club.

via DC Sports Bog

Bryce Harper loses track of outs, starts jogging toward dugout (Video)

Denard-Span-laughingWashington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper had a brain fart on Tuesday night that his teammates won’t soon let him forget. In the bottom of the eighth with the Nats leading 8-6, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. flew out to left for the second out of the inning. And Harper started jogging toward the dugout.

Harper clearly thought he had secured the third out before quickly realizing no one else was moving and trying to play it off. Unfortunately for him, everyone from the fans in attendance to his teammates noticed. Fellow outfielders Denard Span and Jayson Werth covered their mouths with their gloves and burst out laughing.

The good news is there were no runners on base, so Harper’s mental lapse didn’t cost the team. Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro probably wishes he could have said the same a few weeks back.

Bryce Harper on media criticism: ‘Screw what people think’

Bryce Harper NationalsBryce Harper has had an up-and-down season with the Washington Nationals, during which he has battled injuries and watched his team drift further behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Despite that, he has maintained decent numbers with a .278 batting average to go along with 19 home runs and 49 RBIs.

The Nationals are 7.5 games behind in the wild card and are likely going to miss the playoffs. After salvaging the final game of a three-game series against the New York Mets on Sunday, Harper was asked about dealing with criticism from the media and fans.

“I could care less what people think,” he said, per CSNWashington.com’s Chase Hughes. “Screw what people think. Everybody talks about us all year long saying we’re not going to make this or do that. I could care less what they think. It’s all what we think. I could really care less what the media thinks or anybody else. It’s nice to get that W tonight and like I said, I could care less what people think.”

This is the same Harper who has yet to even reach the legal drinking age and loves when opposing fans boo him, so a quote like this isn’t exactly a surprise. The Nationals came into the season with incredibly high expectations and they have not been able to fulfill them. That is something that is going to happen on more than one occasion during Harper’s lengthy career, so he’s wise to get used to it.

Even when Washington wins, Harper is going to hear plenty of criticism if he struggles at the plate or keeps getting injured. If the team loses, it will be worse. Tuning out the criticism is the best approach.

H/T Hardball Talk

Scott Boras reportedly eyeing 12-year contract for Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper NationalsThe Washington Nationals have Bryce Harper under control through the 2018 season. Harper is only 20 years old, so ideally he will still be at the very beginning of his prime when that time rolls around. However, the team may try to work out a long-term extension with the centerpiece of their franchise sooner.

If the Nationals want to lock Harper up, they’ll have to deal with Scott Boras. Any team in the league could tell you how difficult that can be, and Boras is already showing us why. According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, the super agent is already aiming high.

While few teams would ever agree to a 12-year contract with any player, you can’t blame Boras for starting there. Harper is already a serviceable MLB player with big-time power and a great glove. Again, he’s only 20.

Washington could sign Harper to a 12-year deal today and he would only be 32 when it expired, so we’re not talking about an Alex Rodriguez situation here. Health is always a concern with any contract of that magnitude, but unless Harper breaks down he would probably be looking for another huge contract after that one expired. It would also save the team the trouble of having to go through three years of arbitration, during which Harper would be making a ton of money anyway.

Chances are, the Nationals will stay put for a while. Thinking about a 12-year, $250 million deal (or however much Boras would be seeking) is alarming for any team. At the moment, Harper’s stock could not be any higher. Waiting a couple more years to see how it plays out should not cost the Nats all that much in the long run.

H/T Eye on Baseball

Bryce Harper on Atlanta Braves fans: ‘I love when they go crazy and boo me’

Bryce Harper NationalsWashington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper is the type of player who lives for drama. He has a temper that has been well-documented and makes it obvious that he can’t stand losing. The 20-year-old outfielder also feeds off the hatred he receives from opposing fans, and he has been fed a lot of it by Atlanta Braves supporters this season.

Harper has been hit by pitches against the Braves three times this season. Earlier this month, he was plunked after admiring his home run and flipping his bat. Then on Friday, Atlanta fans cheered when Harper was hit two more times. He loved every second of it.

“I love these fans. I really do,” Harper said Sunday, per Dan Kolko of MASN Sports. “These people are absolutely unbelievable for their team. If I was playing for a team like this and had a crowd like that, I’d be stoked to play here every night, too. I love playing at Nats Park. We have a great crowd, too. Going to Philly. Going here. Fenway. New York. There are so many great crowds.

“I love when the crowd goes crazy and they boo me. I live for that situation. I think a lot of guys do. Just like the old commercials, ‘We live for this.’ Live for the booing, and (when) they’re going crazy, it makes me a better player.”

Harper could not have loved the Braves taking two out of three from his Nationals, but he heard plenty of boos every time he strolled to the plate. He also had a brief exchange with third base umpire Marvin Hudson when he was called out on a 1-2 check swing to end the game. Harper said he didn’t like the call, but wouldn’t elaborate much further.

“I just told him how good he was and how good he looked,” he joked.

If a rivalry is budding between the Braves and Nationals, there is no better person to play the role of villain than Bryce Harper.

H/T Hardball Talk

Julio Teheran hits Bryce Harper after home run, benches clear (Video)

Julio Teheran sparked a benches-clearing incident in the fifth inning of the Washington Nationals-Atlanta Braves game on Tuesday when he (intentionally) hit Bryce Harper in the thigh with a pitch.

Harper took Teheran deep to center for a solo home run in the third to give the Nats a 1-0 lead. After the homer, Harper held onto his bat, took about four slow steps up the line as he watched his deep blast, and then gave a bat toss. He didn’t egregiously pimp or celebrate his home run, but he definitely admired his shot. He also took 23.66 seconds to make his way around the bases, which marks his longest career home run trot, per TaterTrotTracker. That didn’t sit well with Teheran.

Bryce Harper Julio TeheranIn the fifth, the Nats had a man on second and one out when Teheran dosed Harper in the leg. Harper was fuming after getting hit, and he immediately pointed and yelled at the Braves pitcher to tell him that was a b.s. move. The benches cleared and the relievers left the bullpen and made their way to the infield, though nothing happened aside from words being exchanged.

Teheran said after the game that he missed inside with the pitch, while Harper thought it was intentional. Harper also acknowledged that getting hit is a consequence for admiring a monster home run.

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