Bryce Harper didn't win Monday night's Home Run Derby, but for a 20-year-old in his first Derby, he sure had a strong showing.
There was the obvious: He advanced to the finals, knocking a consistent eight homers in each round. That wasn't enough to top Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who was a home run tornado, hitting 32 total and an eye-popping 17 in the first round.
But Harper put on a good show too — mainly because he brought some of that 20-year-old flair that's made him one of the most exciting young players in the game. So even though Harper didn't *win* the Home Rub Derby, he was still a winner. As was his family. Here are five reasons why.
1. The shoes
They looked like they were sewn together from the sad tears of that home run sculpture at Marlins Park.
2. The mohawk
While Cespedes' eyebrows were a close second, Harper's mohawk was the best hairy feature of the derby. Did he just get done playing upright bass in his rockabilly band?
3. Big brother tagging along
We already knew Bryce's brother Bryan Harper has a wonderful mustache. But that made us no less happy to see it show up at the derby. And a hat cam too? I'm sure this was a lot like a Harper family vacation, with Bryce wearing goofy shoes and Bryan making the home movies.
4. Dad pitching to Bryce
While other Home Run Derby contestants brought out their coaches to pitch to them, Bryce brought his dad, Ron Harper, who used to pitch BP to a young Bryce. On this night, Ron looked like he was challenging his son, throwing pitches that cut to the inside of the plate, rather than trying to help him launch homers. Dad came inside a number of times, even hitting Bryce once. C'mon, look at that scowl. "You think just 'cause you're an MLB All-Star that I'm going easy on you, boy, no way!"
The kids in the outfield are only 6 months younger than Harper.
— Dave Brown (@AnswerDave) July 16, 2013
Hyperbole aside, let's remember that Bryce Harper is still just a 20-year-old, even though it feels like we've known him forever. Harper didn't win Monday, but he did enough to makeyou feel pretty good about his chances of winning a derby sometime in the near future.