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David Brown

Bryce Harper: Nationals are 'gonna be the Yankees of the NL East'

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Bryce Harper barely finished his first day in the Arizona Fall League before the word came down.

The reign of the Philadelphia Phillies as deflowerers of the NL East was coming to an end.

And who is destined to dethrone the Fightin' Phils, just three victories in the NLCS away from a hard-to-comprehend third straight World Series appearance?

An NL version of the New York Yankees, that's who — Harper's Washington Nationals. The same organization that's averaged 93.43 losses since 2004.

The 18-year-old Harper definitely has a vision where his team is headed.

Via DC Sports Bog:

Maybe you've heard it said that Bryce Harper is confident. Fearless. Intrepid. Undaunted. Brash, even.

Well, take those adjectives, and inject them with chocolate-covered Ritalin-flavored Red Bull-powered protein-fortified 5-Hour Energy concentrate. I mean, Bryce Harper isn't confident; he's Joe Namath in war paint.

"You know, I think in the next couple years, we're gonna be the Yankees of the NL East," he told MASN's Byron Kerr during a conversation about his Arizona Fall League expectations. (Audio here.) "I've been telling everybody that. I think we're gonna be the top program in the NL East, and we're gonna roll. We're gonna win some World Series. That's everybody's goal, and we preach that from day one. [Minor league field coordinator] Bobby Henley, he preached that from day one: 'We're gonna win the NL East one day,' and I really believe that we're gonna do that. So hopefully we bring a couple of World Series to Washington, D.C."

Heh. Freshmen.

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Harper might be the second coming of Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) combined with New Pete Rose meets The Ultimate Warrior (remember the face paint), but his will alone cannot transform the Nats organization into a juggernaut.

Is the Lerner family fiscally able, financially savvy and ruthlessly competitive like the Steinbrenners?

Is Mike Rizzo some sort of Brian Cashman 3000?

When does Stephen Strasburg(notes) get back, and are there any more down on the farm like him and Harper?

That's what I thought. There's only one Yankees.

And yet, here's the great part about Harper's vision: Its optimism. Before the draft, a report surfaced that Harper's attitude might not be as awesome as the rest of his talent. And he did get suspended for arguing with an umpire that one time.

But since signing with the Nats, Harper has handled himself quite well, as reports from MASN's Kerr and WaPo's Adam Kilgore indicate.

The guy wants to turn the Nats into a great team. He wants to be a part of something bigger than himself. That's a great attitude, especially for a just-turned-18-year-old. Even if it turns out to be pie in the sky.

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