TooAthletic Takes

On Friday night, a San Francisco Giants fan began chanting “overrated” while Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies was at the plate in the fifth inning.  In true Harper fashion, he took a pitch and homered to the deepest part of Orcale Park.  In the seventh inning, just for good measure, Harper doubled down by hitting another home run, splashing it down in McCovey Cove and fully embracing his status as the villain Major League Baseball needs him to be.

While there are not too many stories about Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels saving kittens stuck in trees on his way to the ballpark, it is clear that MLB wants to market him as the face of the game.  He is clean cut, well-mannered, and plays the game of baseball hard and clean while making a highlight reel worthy play almost every night.  Bryce Harper does play the game hard and often makes ESPN’s SportsCenter; however, his personality is slightly different than Trout.

Baseball fans know which players can hear the boos and the heckles, and also knows which ones can tune them out; for Bryce Harper, those sounds are fuel that feeds his desire to be the best person and player he can be.  And as a baseball fan myself, I don’t mind if I am giving an opposing player and hard time and he comes back to find me after hitting two home runs like Harper did Friday night. I believe that Harper is calling out that fan not only to let that person know he was heard, but to say thank you, because, as Reggie Jackson once said, “Fans don’t boo nobodies,” and Bryce Harper has known since he was 16 and called “The Chosen One” by Sports Illustrated that he is somebody.  He is the person counter balance to Mike Trout, both looking for greatness but going about it in opposite ways.

While Trout gets more publicity from Major League Baseball, Bryce Harper draws a reaction if he strikes out or hits a home run, because some people root for the villains in life, while other root against them.  Either way, however, everyone has an opinion about the villain, something that is not always true about the hero.


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