Bryce Harper is baseball’s LeBron James — he’s been famous since he was a teenager, hyped and propped up as the next big thing. We’ve watched him grow up with tremendous expectations, deliver on some of them, not deliver on others and along the way, inspire a great number of opinions from the sports world.
Finding a baseball fan who thinks Harper is overrated is like finding a political meme on Facebook. For better or worse, that’s part of being Bryce Harper. He doesn’t have the quiet efficiency of Mike Trout. Harper, instead, is polarizing. Take-inspiring. Even when he’s playing great, someone will find a reason to diss him. And when he’s not playing great, oh boy, will you hear about it.
Which brings us to this week’s installment of my Open Mike video series here on Yahoo Sports. This week, a “nameless NL exec” told FanRag Sports that Harper is a losing player. Yes, LOSING player. And that’s where I about fell out of my chair.
Criticize Bryce Harper for most things and I’ll just let you have your opinion — but there’s no way Bryce Harper is a “losing player.” He’s played six full seasons in the big leagues at this point. In those six seasons, he’s finished in first place four times and in second twice. Total record: 555-417. In the postseason four times at age 25. That’s “losing?”
The Harper Haters have another bullet in their weapon, though:
How many LCS appearances?
— Matt Drury (@MattDrury559) June 12, 2018
Yeah, he’s never won a playoff series. I don’t care for that logic in team sports — baseball in particular — but accept that many fans trot it out. Especially when it comes to quarterbacks. But you can’t solely blame Bryce for the Nats’ postseason woes. Consider the 2014 NLDS against the Giants — he hit three homers in four games. It’s not like he disappears in October.
Guess what, though? Mike Trout has never won a playoff series either and he’s hands-down the best player in the game. Would anybody call him a “losing player?” Of course not.
I’m not the only one coming to Harper’s defense here. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said the unknown Harper-hating NL exec is “gutless” — among other profane things.
It goes to show: When you reach a certain level of sports fame, the opinions can quickly become absurd. Even from nameless team execs.
PREVIOUSLY ON OPEN MIKE:
• Some MLB players who deserve your All-Star vote
• If MLB contenders were rappers
• No, legal sports betting doesn’t mean Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame
• Tanking isn’t as bad as you say it is
• Pace-of-play isn’t killing baseball — the Fun Police are
• Free baseball for everyone
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