We hadn't considered that the start of Bryce Harper's first year in the big leagues would start off like "The Empire Strikes Back." Yet there was our young padawan at Triple-A Hoth Syracuse, using any means short of a hollowed-out Otto the Orange to seek warmth during an opening day game against Rochester. From a knit cap to a ski mask to a headband he surely must have borrowed from a sorority girl , Harper wasn't going to let frostbite land him on the DL.
The Las Vegas native should stick to whatever he's doing, too. Harper was 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base in Syracuse's 7-4 loss to Rochester. Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post thinks Harper might eventually warm to the idea of playing in the working-mans' International League, but it certainly didn't look like it on Thursday.
"We just tried to keep as warm as we could," Harper said in his post-game, post-shower press conference, held indoors, during which he chose to wear a kind of winter headband over his ears. "It was all you could do."
At any rate, that's a pretty good start to the season. Put together a few more of these and then it's really just a matter of looking at the service time clock and waiting for it to agree with GM Mike Rizzo's judgment. For Harper's sake, we hope that warmer climes await.