Bryce Harper Rocks a ‘Make Baseball Fun Again’ Hat in Interview
Bryce Harper is the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, but for some reason a lot of people still don't think he's good for baseball. Mostly grumpy old people, sure, but Harper seems to be going out of his way now to stoke those feelings -- like by wearing a hat that says "Make Baseball Fun Again" in a post-game interview on Monday. (Incidentally, Harper homered in his first at-bat.)
And good for him. That hat rules.
It's a nod to both Donald Trump's presidential campaign slogan and to comments Harper made in a recent interview, in which he said:
Baseball’s tired. 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.
Harper obviously wants players to be able to show a bit more personality out there, much like athletes in other sports do:
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.
Unfortunately a few old-timers like Goose Gossage get all pissy about this stuff, but again, Harper is the MVP. If he wants to say something about baseball, he's earned that right. (And come on, we all know Gossage is a Trump supporter, right?)
Harper isn't saying that baseball isn't fun or that it's a boring sport -- he's merely criticizing the idea that players shouldn't be able to show their emotions on the field for fear of getting drilled the next time they come to bat. Harper -- and many other young players, particularly foreign-born players who grew up in different cultures -- play the game a little differently than players from 30 or 50 years ago. It's got a bit more energy, a bit more flair, as Harper says. If a guy wants to flip his bat after knocking a massively important three-run homer, go for it. He doesn't deserve to get beaned in his next at-bat. If you're the pitcher, you could always just try getting him out, right?
If you want to get your own Make Baseball Fun Again hat, it's for sale here ($20).