Just in case baseball doesn't work out for him, 19-year-old Bryce Harper says he wants to get his EMT certification this offseason so he can become a firefighter.
Baseball player, firefighter. What about astronaut? Maybe next offseason. But so far in the majors, the sky has been the limit for Harper, despite his youth. He's batting .280/.354/.478 with eight homers, 14 doubles, four triples and eight steals coming into play Thursday. That's good for an adjusted OPS of 125, which means his production is about 25 percent better than the league's average player. And we know he's got a hose for an arm in the outfield.
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And that's as a teenager, so the chances of baseball not working out in the long run — like, at all — seem remote. But as Harper told Nats fans in an online chat (via DC Bog), there should always be a backup plan:
"I'd probably be a firefighter. Ever since I was growing up, I wanted to be a firefighter or a baseball player. Going into the offseason, I'm going to get my EMT and do the firefighting thing so I have something to fall back on."
This ain't no clown profession, bro. Lots of little boys want to be baseball players and firemen when they grow up, but few end up actually doing it. Harper (who not long ago was a little boy) might accomplish both. And his EMT skills could come in handy at the ballpark someday, in case the place needs evacuating because of inclement weather or, heaven forbid, there's a fire. Other than that, or maybe volunteering in the offseason, it's hard to imagine a baseball star working double duty like they used to. And how would the Nats feel about him moonlighting?
Until then, baseball. And what does Harper want to do over the All-Star break, now that he lost the vote for the final spot on the NL team to David Freese of St. Louis?
"Going home would be good," Harper said on Tuesday. "Of course I want be there and be in the All-Star game, of course, but if it doesn't work out, hopefully I've got 20 years in my career to get back there."
Going home would be good. Take the time off. And read up on hook and ladder regulations.
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