Pete Rose is one of Bryce Harper's baseball idols. Harper may have dreamt about a day when he'd be a famous enough player that Pete Rose would be talking about him in an interview. He probably, however, never dreamt Rose would start by saying, "Here's Bryce's problem ..."
Rose was a guest recently on MLB Network Radio with Mike Ferrin and CJ Nitkowski and he talked about the 20-year-old Washington Nationals star, calling his play reckless and offering up unsolicited advice for the Nats and their manager Davey Johnson.
“Here’s Bryce’s problem, okay?” Rose said. “Bryce growing up, I was his dad’s favorite player. I mean, that’s a fact. And there’s a difference in playing hard and playing recklessly. And Bryce plays recklessly. And there’s a reason for that. He was a catcher when he was here [in Las Vegas].
“Now all of a sudden they’ve got him in the outfield, and he don’t understand warning tracks, and he don’t understand every [ballpark] the caroms are different, the walls are different. Some are padded, some aren’t. You can’t turn around and run into the wall at Dodger Stadium face first. So what I would tell Davey Johnson – and he knows more about his team than I do – I would play Bryce Harper as deep as he possibly could, where anything over his head goes out of the ballpark. And that way he’s not gonna run into fences until he gets used to the different ballparks.”
Listen for yourself:
This shouldn't be perceived as Rose necessarily calling out Harper or dissing the kid. It was more of a been-there-done-that evaluation, with Rose eventually giving Harper a Charlie Hustle-esque stamp of approval for playing hard — even if it is reckless.
“He’s not gonna get hurt by playing hard,” Rose said. “Who played harder than I did? I should rephrase that; he’s GONNA get hurt, but he’s not gonna hurt where it’s gonna take him out of the lineup for a length of time. Playing 162 games during a baseball season, there’s a lot of bumps and bruises. And you can’t bitch every time you get hit on the arm or something, or you slide into the second baseman and he spikes you on the knee or something. I mean, that’s just part of the game.”
Harper, meanwhile, didn't pull a Johnny Manziel and send a whiny tweet or give Rose a "That's why you're banned for life" retort. Nothing of the sort. He did, however, appear to be enjoying some cake.
Quick! Someone tell 20-year-old Bryce Harper how reckless it is to have a sweet tooth.
BLS H/N: DC Sports Bog
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