Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has endured an unprecedented amount of hype over the last seven or so years since he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That attention followed him through college, the minor leagues and now through four seasons in the majors.
When you are under such a bright spotlight, people will form strong opinions, both positive and negative. Cubs manager Joe Maddon, for one, doesn't see why so many people criticize Harper.
“I don’t know what everybody else doesn’t like,” Maddon told CSN Chicago. “I like players that play hard and care and obviously he’s pretty good. So I probably would like him.”
Harper and the Nationals are currently playing at the Cubs, who have a phenom of their own in Kris Bryant. Bryant has a much different personality and has not received nearly as much scrutiny as Harper has, at least so far.
That concept was revitalized in recent weeks as Harper was twice ejected from games. The second time he now-famously said “I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight" about Marvin Hudson. Clearly Maddon doesn't understand the backlash that ensued.
The love is being shared both ways this series between Harper and the Cubs. Harper himself talked about his affinity for Wrigley Field.
“I love Wrigley,” Harper said. “It’s a lot of fun playing here.
“I enjoy playing here and San Fran and Boston. Those are the three. It just feels like you’re in a ballpark in your backyard playing the game.”
The Nationals continue their series with the Cubs on Tuesday night with a 7:00 p.m. start. Jordan Zimmermann and Kyle Hendricks are the starting pitchers.
For more on Harper and Bryant and the series, read the full story on CSN Chicago.
It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.
It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.
They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training.
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Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.
Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.
Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.
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We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.
Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:
It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.
Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.