You would think that, after putting up a season which will almost certainly lead to him winning the MVP Award, the old game of bashing Bryce Harper as some sort of immature kid who hasn’t lived up to his hype would become inoperative. But nope, there are still some who think that trope has legs.
Here’s Steve Kettmann writing at Forbes about the Nationals hiring of Dusty Baker:
In Dusty Baker the Nationals are getting a man who understands people and knows how to work with young superstars to take them to the next level. Make no mistake: The single key to turning the Nats into a World Series team is not studying lefty-righty matchups, or contemplating WAR, but teaching Bryce Harper how to be a man . . . Under Baker’s guidance Harper will be the best player in baseball next year.
Harper was the best player in baseball THIS year, but I suppose we can let that go. As for teaching Harper “how to be a man,” well, I suppose we have to let that one go too because Kettmann doesn’t explain how he is lacking in that regard either. This smells an awful lot like off-the-shelf Harper criticism rooted in inferences made about a teenager six years ago.
Kettmann doesn’t write his column with the purpose of burying Harper — it’s more about praising Baker, whose book the small imprint Kettmann owns just published — but I find the autopilot “Bryce Harper is an immature kid” stuff to be beyond tiresome at this point. And, worse, divorced from reality.