I missed this due to travel and everything, but on Monday, Bryce Haper threw a baserunner out who was trying to stretch a single into a double. It looks as though Harper was sort of lazy getting to the ball and then recovered nicely with a good throw to nail him, but after the game he said he did it on purpose to try to lure the runner into getting greedy. Watch the play and make up your own mind about that:
[mlbvideo id=”47581683″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
I dunno. The simplest explanation is that Harper was just being a tad lazy on a warm spring afternoon, but I wouldn’t put it past him at all to actually deke a runner like he said he did. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that the play pissed everyone off. Manager Matt Williams was displeased, noting that maybe you get a runner like that sometimes, but other times your throw is offline and you just over-thought your team into allowing a runner into scoring position. He’s not wrong about that, of course, and given that Williams seemed relatively even-keeled about it suggests that he’s not losing sleep over it, even if he wanted to send a message to his young outfielder.
A little more on the comical side of things was how ESPN talking heads Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon ran with this on their TV show. You can read the transcript of it all here. They are quite appalled at the laziness/brashness/arrogance/you name it of Mr. Harper.
I suppose you can make arguments either way. I do wonder, however, whether such arguments about a pretty unimportant play in a pretty unimportant game in spring training is really worth all of that hot air, though. On some level, spring training is like practice. And an look, I hear you . . . it’s funny to me too, I mean it’s strange . . . it’s strange to me too, but we’re talking about practice man, we’re not even talking about the game . . . the actual game, when it matters . . . We’re talking about practice.