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.