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#pounditSunday, August 9, 2020

Bryce Harper wants to bring flair to baseball, thinks sport is ‘tired’

Bryce Harper stare

Bryce Harper is sick and tired of Major League Baseball’s unwritten rules.

The Nationals outfielder was the subject of an ESPN the Magazine profile, and in it, Harper states that he thinks baseball is tired and needs an infusion of energy akin to Steph Curry in the NBA and Cam Newton in the NFL.

Here’s the excerpt, as penned by Tim Keown of ESPN the Magazine:

“Baseball’s tired,” he says. “It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig — there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.

“Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling — hoorah … if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot … I mean — sorry.”

He stops, looks around. The hell with it, he’s all in.

“If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I’m going to go, ‘Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.’ That’s what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players — Steph Curry, LeBron James. It’s exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton — I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It’s that flair. The dramatic.”

Playing the game the right way is always a hot topic. Remember the reaction to Jose Bautista’s bat flip during the 2015 postseason? Harper’s Cam Newton comparison is apt, really. Newton has a response for those who criticize his celebrations, and it sounds a lot like Harper’s. Football has sack dances and other celebrations. In basketball, nobody bats an eye when Steph Curry does the Bernie Lean. Why can’t it happen in baseball? You do you, Bryce.

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