FanDuel - WFBC

June 07, 2011

Bryce Harper Homers, Blows Kiss to Pitcher: Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper blew a kiss to the opposing pitcher after hitting a home run in a minor league game last night. Harper's playing for the Class A Hagerstown Suns and is batting .342 with 14 home runs and 42 RBI. Greensboro Grasshoppers pitcher Zach Neal said something about Harper's slow home run trot and Harper responded with the kiss. Though Craig Calcaterra of Yahoo Sports thinks that Harper needs to grow up, blogger Ted Berg loves it: "Admire your moonshots. Maintain that godawful mustache. And maybe armor up a bit. The baseball world needs bad guys."

posted by rcade to baseball at 01:45 PM - 38 comments

As Mike Schmidt says, "the game will end up taking care of it" if he does not grow up.

posted by graymatters at 02:11 PM on June 07

The Nationals will be happy about anything that gets fans in the seat. I like this sort of thing anyway. I don't like when people take sports so seriously, and forget that they are in the entertainment business. We need people to love and people to hate.

posted by bperk at 02:57 PM on June 07

the game will end up taking care of it

one of the things I still love about baseball. Violate its codes at your own peril. Once he gets to the majors and puts not only himself but a few of his teammates in the cross-hairs both at the plate on on the base paths, and they'll start policing him themselves.

But what a jackass...from all accounts he seems to be an insufferable pr*ck and the last few video's I've seen of him certainly don't dispel that rumor. I guess if your dad's spending all his free time pitching sunflower seeds to you as a kid to hone your baseball skills instead of teaching you humility and respect, then this sort of thing is the result. That sort of fathering seemed to work well for Todd Marinovich.

posted by bdaddy at 04:53 PM on June 07

I saw him play for the Nats in spring training. He's going to be a beast.

posted by rcade at 04:59 PM on June 07

It seems that the most obvious issue has been missed. I watched the at bat and Harper only watched the ball leave the park. Then he ran the bases in a trot, which seems normal to me. It was only after the pitcher Neal made his comment that Harper sent him a kiss. Where are the same people pointing fingers of shame at Harper on Neal's bad form comment? Not until Neal opened his mouth did Harper do anything in Neal's direction. Maybe Neal deserves a lesson or two in sportsman like conduct.

posted by quizman at 05:02 PM on June 07

Welcome to Spofi, Quizman. I thought Harper's trot started a little slow, but not enough to merit pitcher outrage.

posted by rcade at 05:05 PM on June 07

The trot may have started slow since Harper watched his HOME RUN. I find no issue with his doing so and think its time to get back to playing ball instead of finding something to over focus on.

posted by quizman at 05:13 PM on June 07

Neal's comment was from the fact that Harper "showed him up" by standing in the box until it cleared the fence, then flicking the bat afterwards. He felt he broke one of baseball's unwritten rules and let him know it.

the trot may have started slow since Harper watched his HOME RUN.

which is the problem

posted by bdaddy at 05:14 PM on June 07

Oh you're right Harper showed Neal up with his at bat not his manner of watching or how he dropped his bat. An unwritten rule is simply that unwritten which means its not a rule. Egos on the rise create all sorts of trouble.

posted by quizman at 05:34 PM on June 07

Question, Did Neal turn and watch the ball exit the park too?

posted by quizman at 05:35 PM on June 07

Admiring the hit by watching the ball is a bad habit to acquire. How many times have you seen a batter "admire" what he thought was a home run, only to wind up on first after what should have been a sure extra base hit when the ball stays in the park? "Run 'em out until you're sure its caught or gone" is the advice many coaches give.

posted by Howard_T at 06:02 PM on June 07

Neal: "Kiss my ass."

Harper: Smooch.

How many times have you seen a batter "admire" what he thought was a home run, only to wind up on first after what should have been a sure extra base hit when the ball stays in the park?

I think I recall A-Rod doing that in a game this year (probably against the Rangers) where he was certain it was a homer, only to barely make it to second when it hit the wall.

posted by graymatters at 06:04 PM on June 07

I'm amazed that someone can watch that and come away with the opinion that the pitcher's ego is the problem.

posted by cl at 06:14 PM on June 07

fwiw, in the previous day's game (against the same team), Harper was drilled in the knee on the first pitch of his first at bat and left the game. Which might have had something to do with his exhibition yesterday.

posted by Mookieproof at 06:18 PM on June 07

This seems like a nontroversy to me, but it's a nice narrative to spin about the most hyped batting prospect in years. If Harper had yelled back at the pitcher would anyone have made it an issue?

posted by rcade at 06:22 PM on June 07

So who are the other bad guys of baseball? The only one that immediately springs to mind is A-Rod, actually.

posted by Bonkers at 06:34 PM on June 07

So who are the other bad guys of baseball? The only one that immediately springs to mind is A-Rod, actually.

A.J. Pierzynski and Nyjer Morgan immediately come to mind.
However, A.J. is considered "hard-nosed", while Nyjer is a trouble-maker.

Huh. I wonder why that is?

posted by grum@work at 07:08 PM on June 07

So who are the other bad guys of baseball?

Ran across this yesterday:

21 cockiest players in MLB

Agree or disagree, as you see fit.

posted by graymatters at 07:32 PM on June 07

It's such an innocuous gesture. Why does this cause any interest? He pimped a homer, the pitcher told him to kiss his ass and he blew a little kiss.

Yeah, aim at his head. Release Mike Schmidt!

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:19 PM on June 07

This seems like a nontroversy to me, but it's a nice narrative to spin about the most hyped batting prospect in years. ?

well it's not like people are going nuts over this, but I think the attention is deserving given this isn't his first rodeo with this sort of thing. Consider his scouting report on BP

The Makeup: his should not be underrated. It's impossible to find any talent evaluator who isn't blown away by Harper's ability on the field, but it's equally difficult to find one who doesn't genuinely dislike the kid. One scout called him among the worst amateur players he's ever seen from a makeup standpoint, with top-of-the-scale arrogance, a disturbingly large sense of entitlement, and on-field behavior that includes taunting opponents. "He's just a bad, bad guy," said one front-office official. "He's basically the anti-Joe Mauer."

He's told opposing teams "you should have walked me" after hitting a homerun, he's thrown his bat over his shoulder about 20 ft in the air after a solid hit, he's had several bench clearing arguments with opposing teams..I mean that's a lot of smoke for a kid that young.

If Harper had yelled back at the pitcher would anyone have made it an issue?

probably not..that's more in line with how people expect players to behave, you bitch that I'm showing you up, I tell you to F* off because I wasn't...you see that sort of thing alot. You don't see the blowing-kisses things too often.

posted by bdaddy at 08:45 PM on June 07

Mike Schmidt hasn't got the class to wear socks on national TV.

posted by Hugh Janus at 08:49 PM on June 07

Thanks, Bdaddy. I didn't know young master Harper had been so busy pissing people off.

posted by rcade at 08:55 PM on June 07

Yeah, that definitely changes the picture. All the same, I love a good heel.

posted by yerfatma at 09:23 PM on June 07

21 cockiest players in MLB

Agree or disagree, as you see fit.

Wow. Disagree. How's this for weak?

"Yet, Reyes makes this list simply because of the way he carries himself on the field. For someone who isn't a tremendous power hitter nor an incredible fielder, Reyes displays more confidence at shortstop and at bat than any other player I've seen.

Each time he gets on base or makes a big play, you'll notice that he has sort of a "how do you like me now?" look on his face."

The look on his face? Excuse me, did this whiner really write that? Nothing he said, nothing he did, just his body language and your insecure interpretation of what it all means?

"Cocky" is an adjective that, if those who use it are being truthful, really means "This guy beats up on my team, where's my crying towel?"

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:05 PM on June 07

Let the pitcher open his mouth, then answer by taking him out of the park again in the next at-bat.

posted by jjzucal at 10:11 PM on June 07

I know baseball like priests know celibacy (in other words I feel like I should get it and follow it, but I just don't), but what I'm gleaning from the above is that if this guy had told the pitcher to go and fuck himself, no one would have said anything, but because he blew him a kiss he's a classless, cocky oik?

Strange game.

posted by JJ at 05:08 AM on June 08

Strange game indeed. If you pitch at someone's head, there can be a bench clearing brawl. You can also yell right in the umpire's face.

In cricket, you can aim at someone's head, hit them, then help them get to their feet, and everyone's fine. But yell at the umpire, and you'll be banned for life.

posted by owlhouse at 05:42 AM on June 08

That Bleacher Report ranking is so stupid; it equates confidence and cockiness to tie Pedroia and Reyes in, and claims Lackey was looking for "Burnett money" when, I do believe, that was never actually said.

Cliff Lee is in for saying he never wanted to leave Philly when he returned, despite the fact he was traded in the first place. Jose Bautista for...I'm not exactly sure what...arguing with umpires...or secret beliefs of steroid use?

It feels like an idea that was 5 long and probably accurate, but they milked to get more ad time.

posted by dfleming at 06:23 AM on June 08

Yeah, I saw that list a few days ago and almost signed up just to yell at the person who wrote it for having the rhetorical skills of an eight-year old. Without the same level of logic.

posted by yerfatma at 08:48 AM on June 08

I want to know why Bleacher Report articles show up when you search google for news. There are far more bad ones than there are good ones.

posted by bperk at 09:01 AM on June 08

"Cocky" is an adjective that, if those who use it are being truthful, really means "This guy beats up on my team, where's my crying towel?"

Good point. It's the younger brother of complaints about running up the score.

posted by rcade at 09:05 AM on June 08

There are far more bad ones than there are good ones.

There was a good one? Given their average author, the site is clearly interested in page views and nothing else.

posted by yerfatma at 10:35 AM on June 08

But yell at the umpire, and you'll be banned for life.

Sounds awful. Though, I have wished for something like a wicket to throw at instead of some ump's amoeba-shaped take on a strike zone.

posted by tron7 at 11:05 AM on June 08

Last night David Ortiz hit a rather emphatic 2-run shot on the pitch after having had one come close to his legs. Ortiz turned, flipped his bat, and made a very slow home run trot. The pitcher, Hector Nosei, says he didn't see Ortiz flip the bat, and made no reaction. Yankees' manager Joe Girardi commented after the game that he didn't much care for the bat flip. Ortiz says that he's a home run hitter, and that's what he does. The prevailing attitude seems to be one of "OK, this happens in baseball, incident finished". I think that Bryce Harper and Zach Neal should take the same attitude.

posted by Howard_T at 01:19 PM on June 08

Girardi later said he was trying to protect his young pitcher, which is why it irked him.

Sometimes I wonder if Girardi believes the stuff that comes out of his mouth.

posted by justgary at 07:57 PM on June 08

Also, when asked about Chamberlain's excessive celebrations girardi said:

That's who he is. He's not showing anyone up. He's going to show emotion. He didn't look at Dellucci. He looked into our dugout."

Shut up.

posted by justgary at 08:05 PM on June 08

Nyjer is a trouble-maker.

As a Brewers fan, can I just say that I freaking love Nyjer Morgan? I don't see him as a trouble-maker at all (never saw AJ that way either), just a guy who's having fun and playing hard.

He had the decency to admit he didn't even know what inning it was when he hit the game-winning double two nights ago! How can you not like a guy like that?

posted by rocketman at 04:44 PM on June 10

But regarding Harper: can't wait until this kid makes it to the majors. I really hope he's able to steel himself and hold onto his personality, because baseball is going to be a ton of fun when he's in town.

posted by rocketman at 04:45 PM on June 10

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