Friday, August 9, 2013

Harper embracing other DC teams

Photo by USA Today
As Bryce Harper moves through his first full season as a professional athlete in Washington, D.C., he is starting to embrace the other sports teams in town. He sat down with Comcast SportsNet on Wednesday for his weekly one-on-one interview wearing a customized D.C. United jersey, a Black-and-Red No. 34 kit with ‘Harper’ on the back.

The Nationals star says he plans to start attending games of other Washington teams.

“They just sent [the jersey] to us,” he said. “Of course I’m going to rep anything I can from the D.C. area. I’m very excited to see them play, maybe sometime soon.”

Harper is one of several young superstars playing in D.C. right now. Over the last few years the city has seen a wave of young talent be drafted by local franchises, including Robert Griffin III and John Wall. 

Harper is aware of his place in that mix and is excited to be a part of it.

“I always want them to win. It’s something that you do when you’re in a town that has a lot of teams coming up,” he said. 

“The Wizards, they just signed John Wall to an extension, that’s huge for them. Of course the Redskins have RG3 and [Alfred] Morris, they don’t know who I am, but…”

Harper was referring to a recent story by WUSA-9 when Kevin Jones asked Redskins players if they recognized Harper in a picture. Many of the players could not name him, and Morris even thought he was Tom Brady.

Harper found the story amusing.

“I thought it was pretty funny,” he said. “I think Morris follows me on Twitter too and he still doesn’t know who I am.”

Harper said he’s not sure he would do much better if pressed to name Redskins players.

“Of course RG3 because of his hair and you see him everywhere. Probably Morris. Shoot, I don’t even know their whole team. I know a lot more about other teams. I give them props for even knowing who I am.”

Redskins players may not know who Harper is, but they may see him at a game this year. Harper hopes to make it to Redskins, Wizards, and Capitals games this fall.

“I know a lot of those guys so it’s exciting to see a lot of people play so hopefully I can get out to a few games this year.”


Unknown said...

It would be nice if Bryce Harper showed up at a Nats game some time soon. Guy's just not playing to his level of talent right now.

Unknown said...

Harper is the ONLY guy playing to his talent level, and seemingly the only one who cares about how bad the team is playing. Open your eyes and stop hating just to hate.

Kirbs said...

Hey spend the fall healing the knee at Fed Ex...nothing wrong with that

Doc said...

I'm thinking that your comment was of the'tongue in cheek' variety, James.

No current baseball player plays harder than Harps---none!!!

Bryce needs to introduce himself to the Capitals. Kid would have made a great hockey center, or winger, or defenseman.

NatsLady said...

It's amazing to me that people miss Morse because he added "fun" to the team and relaxed the clubhouse, but if you see the guys this year relaxing, or doing charity work, or going to a sporting event--!! Maybe it's different posters.

Unknown said...

Great quote from Mike Harris of the Washington Times today. "For starters, Davey Johnson should resign now instead of at the end of the season as planned. He's 70 and, after this season, he's starting to look like he's 170 and sound like he's 270. If you think Johnson hasn't checked out already, you haven't been paying attention. Odd decisions. Nonsensical explanations."

NatsLady said...

Well, I have to say, the reason for not using Clip the other night was pretty nonsensical from a guy who claims to use and understand stats.

I personally think it was FON (Failure of Nerve). He saw Clip give up a run in a tie game the other day (and another when it didn't matter) and in his mind he saw it happening again. Now, it MIGHT have happened again. But you have to let Clip do his job until it's proven he can't. To do otherwise is a failure of trust in a guy who prides himself on trusting his players.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

From Mark Zuckerman, in-game: Here's a valid question for Davey Johnson postgame: Why, in a tie game in the eighth, was a fresh Tyler Clippard not considered out of the bullpen? I'm not sure what the rationale there would be.

Well, Mark, perhaps a better question would be why was Tyler Clippard not used at that point in the game? Because you know he was considered, seeing as how he was warming up in the bullpen. But here are some of the other considerations that surely played into Davey's choice:

(a) It was a tie game in the 8th, making extras a distinct possibility.

(b) Davey had already used three guys out of his seven man bullpen.

(c) The most recent pitcher he used, Mattheus, had thrown only two pitches.

(d) Barring a double switch, the pitcher's spot was due up second in the bottom of the 8th.

Given all that, leaving Mattheus in to start the 8th made perfect sense. Indeed, Mattheus proceeded to get the first two outs before putting two guys on. At that point, then, it made perfect sense to use the lefty Krol to face the lefty Heyward. Isn't this exactly the situation that caused everyone to question the pre-season choice to have Duke as the only lefty in the pen?

If Krol had done his job and got Heyward out, no one would have been questioning the non-use of Clippard, because Clippard clearly would have pitched the top of the ninth if the game was still tied at that point.

And why not bring in Clippard to face Upton after Heyward singled? Well, first they would have had to stall a bit to get Clippard back up in the pen, and second right after Upton was Freeman, another left handed batter.

Just because Davey couldn't or didn't want to explain his logic in the postgame doesn't mean there wasn't logic behind his choices.

Don said...

I think that Davey is resigned to the fact that his club is going to underperform expectations no matter what he does.

Section 222 said...

Good discussion on the future of the Nats in the previous post. My view is that while the Nats are a "young" team, they are not an inexperienced team, as Theo pointed out. We pretty much know who they are and what they are capable of. Players like Bernadina, Lombo, Span, and even Zim are probably not going to get worse because of age anytime soon, but you can't expect them to get much better either. Desi still has room to grow. So do Harper, Ramos, and Rendon obviously, though Ramos's durability is a concern. ALR isn't likely to get better. Neither is Werth, though his good year this year may indicate he's not in decline yet. Rizzo has to decide if he's satisfied with this team as it really is, not predict rebound years for everyone who played lousy this year. And that includes Hairston.

Based on this, I'm surprised to hear some say this team could win 10 more games next year if no moves are made. If I'm Rizzo, I'm taking real hard look at changes that might be made at 1B, CF (or a corner spot if Harper moves to CF), and the bench. And then there is the conundrum that is Ryan Zimmerman. This year Rizzo and Davey were apparently willing to let him work out his throwing problems during the season. That simply cannot be the plan next year. Either he's ready to play 3B like a major leaguer next spring (and that includes playing deeper so he can improve his range) or he's not.

Rizzo seems slow to recognize when his assessments of a player's potential don't work out. I'm shocked that Tracy is still on the roster. H-Rod hung around too long. So did Espi. Dan Haren has been pitching better lately, but his ERA is still over 5. He absolutely killed us in the first half.

I just hope this year is a lesson for Rizzo. You can't set your team in stone in the winter and then just damn the torpedos, hoping that players will start living up to your expectations even after it's clear to pretty much everyone that they won't. You have to be ready and willing to make moves or you end up 15 1/2 back on August 9, wondering what hit you and hoping for a 9 game winning streak that has no chance of happening.

Section 222 said...

Davey misunderstood the question in the postgame. He thought Amanda was asking why he didn't bring in Clip to relieve Mattheus, but she was asking why he didn't bring in Clip to start the inning. Feel's post hoc justification isn't bad. At least he isn't claiming that Davey was thinking about using Clip for multiple innings. (I'd cut and paste my response to that idiotic claim made by Feel's brother Phils after the game, but since Feel just cut and pasted his comment from the other day, that would be overkill.)

It does seem to show a singular lack of confidence in your team's offense to think you'd need three pitchers -- Clip, Krol, and Stammen just for extras, and therefore forgo using your regular 8th and 9th inning guys at home in a tie game. So I think there may be something to NL's theory.

Somehow I doubt we'll now see Davey saving Clip for extra innings rather than using him in the 8th where he has been so dominant this year.

Dave said...

Delmon Young DFA, per the Twitter. Matt Gelb, via Amanda.

Holden Baroque said...

I was discussing that "age/maturity" thing a while back with someone here (who disagreed with me, for the record). For such a young team, they have a lot of guys whose best career season may well be behind them.

Just starters:
LaRoche won gold glove and silver slugger last year; it's hard to see him improving on that.

Zim -- discussed to death already.

Werth is giving it all he's got now, but he's on the right side of the graph.

Span is one wall away from retirement. Love to watch him play, but I don't think we'll see what the Twins got.

Ramos--this one hurts to think about. I picked him at the beginning of the season for the All Star Game. He got hurt. Again. I really hope I'm wrong, but he may be one of those many guys who never plays 100 games in the field again.

That's five of eight starters, not counting Espinosa, who was up here at the time IIRC.

NatsLady said...

Feel, that is a reasonable explanation, and that's what I thought at the time. However, Davey baffled me with his explanation. He maybe should have said just what you said, if that indeed was his reasoning.

Holden Baroque said...

Although, in all fairness I will say I was sure Jim Thome was done when the White Sox signed him in 2006. So there's that.

NatsLady said...

Also, if I recall, people on the game thread were complimenting Davey for bringing in Krol, saying "now he's into the game, playing matchups, etc." I don't have a lot of sympathy for managers, but sometimes you are wrong no matter what (I mean, if it doesn't work).

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

So if Davey does something that shows confidence in his offense, and that offense fails to deliver - as has been its norm - then Davey gets blasted for having faith in his offense. But if he does something that might be construed as not having faith in his offense, he gets blasted for being scared and not having faith in his offense.

And if Davey sticks to his pattern of 8th inning guy, 9th inning guy, he gets blasted for not using his other bullpen guys situationally in the places where they're most likely to be effective. But if he uses the secondary bullpen guys in spots according to the matchup or in other places where they should be effective (like a 2-pitch Ryan Mattheus coming back for a second inning) then he gets blasted for not using Clippard in the 8th inning of a tie game.

Mike Harris is wrong. Davey hasn't "checked out", he's just tired of having to explain every move he makes when he knows that explanation is just going to be picked apart. He's doing it the polite way, the Casey Stengel/Yogi Berra incoherency way, instead of just telling the questioner to eff off.

Holden Baroque said...

Given the choice between logic and my own opinion, I know which I prefer.

Davey knew Clip was going to drill Upton, and maybe Heyward if he got the chance, and didn't want to let him do that.

Anonymous said...

Sec. 3-

Your predictions seem to be worst case scenario, especially since Ramos is still just 26 and Zimmerman and Span are both under 30, meaning this year could well just be down years rather than signs of a steel decline.

But even if your worst case scenario comes to pass, that's still only 5 guys. You can say it's 5 out of 8, but that doesn't capture the fact that our 1, 2 and 3 starters are all 27 or younger and that our best position player is still 20. In other words, we're still relatively young even if every possible guy over 27 is already in decline- and as Werth is showing this year, being in decline doesn't necessarily mean your numbers drop off every single season.

Anonymous said...

Steep decline, not "steel decline."

Joe Seamhead said...

I haven't commented much the past few days, but I still read most posts. I'm worried about myself. I have agreed with Feel Wood several times. Many others on here remind me of a bunch of old gossipy women lately.And I'm not feeling like any one of us would be worth a plug nickel as manager, much less GM.

Section 222 said...

Shorter Feel - Don't even bother to analyze his in game managing because Davey is always right.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

Ah, I see. You don't bring Clippard in to face Upton unless the only other available option is Dock Ellis.

NatsLady said...

I am far far from thinking Davey is always right. But if there is a reasonable explanation, I'm willing to listen to it. Things can swing too anti-Davey.

NatsLady said...

Adam Dunn cleared waivers. Of course, he's owed $20 MM for this year and next. He's definitely hitting, though, especially recently.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

Davey's not always right about his in-game decisions, and he admits that himself all the time. He just doesn't apparently desire to go into the specifics of each decision and how/why it either worked out or didn't. It's hard to blame him for having that attitude. If his decision pays off, he's a genius. If it doesn't, he's a bum. No amount of explanation, coherent or not, is going to change that.

Section 222 said...

I'm always interested in a reasonable explanation. I'd just rather hear it from him, rather than his post hoc defenders here. Davey may not like it, but why else have post game pressers? For him to answer the question, "so what did you think of Gio tonight?"?

Believe it or not, sometimes the beat writers are honestly interested in his logic for a particular move. Sometimes it's not obvious why he did what he did or why an alternative wasn't chosen, and his thinking is educational. Clearly on Wednesday lots of people wondered why Clip wasn't used in his customary role in a very important game that was tied after 7 innings. And people were asking the question before his decision to stick with Mattheus didn't work out, as you can see from Twitter, and as we were in the stands.

In this case, though, I think it's pretty clear he didn't give his wandering almost incoherent answer not because he didn't want to answer the question but because he misunderstood it. And since he didn't answer the question, I don't think anyone should be criticized for taking issue with his decision or not finding possible explanations offered by fans convincing.

The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. said...

If it was Stuttering Adam Kilgore who asked the question, it's no wonder Davey didn't understand it. And Davey's already on record for bristling at Kilgore's attempts to manage the team via his agenda-loaded questions.

And you know what? I defy anyone to find an instance where a manager was fired and the stated reason was his in-game decision making. Likewise, if you ask Rizzo or any other GM why he hired a particular manager, they will rarely say "because he's a brilliant tactician." It's the likes of Boswell and George F. Will who talk about that stuff. Sure, question his decision-making all you want, but don't act like your guess about why he did something is any more right or better than what someone else puts forward. Because unless a manager comes right out and says why they made a particular decision, and lays out all the factors that went into it, no one really knows why they make the choices they do. And managers who lay it all out for the press and fans to evaluate are very, very rare.

Section 222 said...

No Feel, it was Amanda who asked the question. You also mis-identified Ladson as the inquisitor who prompted Davey to walk out of his presser by asking about Steinbrenner and Billy Martin, when it was Boswell, as reported afterward by a number of people. Your post-presser voice identification skills seem to need a refresher.

Also, you know what, you need to follow your own advice because you are the one asserting that you know why Davey stayed with Mattheus rather than using Clip, and claiming that your theory is superior to NL's. I have no theory, and Davey didn't explain himself, and you're right, has no obligation to. But don't criticize beat writers and fans who were curious about his reasoning.

Dave said...

In addition to Deuces' criticisms I would also just like to raise this question: Is it absolutely necessary to refer to the lead Nats beat writer from the Post in such a mean-spirited and ugly way? That nickname doesn't seem all that funny to me; don't know about anybody else.

John C. said...

Section 222, you're right that, overall, it's not reasonable to expect players to get better past the age of 29 or so - but remember that is from their career median line. Any one individual season can vary within that. This season Span's OBP is the worst of his career by a good distance. It's likely to improve from that (regress to the mean) even if his career neutral mean has slipped somewhat.

And FWIW, inclusion of Lombo on that list of players who can't be expected to improve because of age makes no sense at all - Lombo is 24.

Section 222 said...

Dave, I entirely agree. Feel seems incapable or making a comment without displaying, at best, borderline bigotry, whether based on race, gender, national origin (i.e., "heritage") or disability. I don't know where that comes from, but it's not pretty.

John C. -- good point on regression (or in this case, hopefully, improvement) to the mean for Span. Let's hope so. I tend to disagree that Lombo will get much better with the bat, but I hope you're right there. If he could walk more, he could be a Jamey Carroll type -- Carrol's career OPB is .351) . This year he has walked only 4 times in 217 ABs. That's Cristian Guzman territory. He still can be a valuable utility guy, but not much more.

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