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Bryce Harper cranks it up to 11 in GQ interview

Mar 15, 2012, 9:21 AM EDT

Bryce Harper Getty Images

Will Leitch interviewed Bryce Harper for GQ, and the interview just went live.  It’s fantastic.  If for no other reason than the picture of Harper with a baseball in his mouth right at the top.

But it can also be summed up with Leitch’s observation that “Harper seems to have emerged fully formed to piss off the baseball establishment.”


  • “When I hit the ball…I do want to hurt it … I want to play the game hard. I want to ram it down your throat, put you into left field when I’m going into second base.”
  • “Playing football… I’m getting chills just thinking about it. That first knock of the game, you are going on kickoff and you are just trying to smack somebody just as hard as you can. That’s how I play baseball. I want to hit you. I want to run your ass over. Sorry.”
  • “baseball needs more superstars.”
  • And a quote from Mike Schmidt:  “I would think at some point the game itself, the competition on the field, is going to have to figure out a way to police this young man.”

Harper is one of the most interesting young players to have emerged in my lifetime.  If he lives up to the hype — or even comes close to living up to it — he’s going to be one of the most astounding things the game has ever seen. Pete Rose meets Muhammad Ali, maybe.

And if he doesn’t, God help the guy who has to do the article in which a 30-something Harper talks about how full of piss and vinegar he was when he was 19 and how he wishes he hadn’t said some of the things he said.

For now, though: Mercy. I’m kinda excited.

  1. frankvzappa - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    A little bit of chin music will change that tune right quick, Meat.

    • hammyofdoom - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      I have a feeling he’s the type that would dig in harder just to TRY and hit a home run after that though

      • clydeserra - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        You mean spout off even more. It seems like he is already trying to hit home runs.

    • marshmallowsnake - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      His best quote, “I didn’t know I was hitting today, and I don’t have my goddamned gloves,” he says. “It hurts like a dick.”

      It hurts like a dick? Really?

      This has been things not to say, by Bryce Harper…Good Night.

      • clydeserra - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        Sure, but also “Things a 19 year old would say”

      • marshmallowsnake - Mar 15, 2012 at 5:14 PM

        I believe I always said, “Hurts like a bitch.”

      • vicktator - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM

        he is implying that he takes it in the ass, good for him though

      • marshmallowsnake - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:59 AM

        Yeah, I know…but I was trying to keep it clean.

  2. sknut - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    I don’t have much of an issue with what he said but “baseball needs more superstars.” is an odd quote to me. Maybe there is more context to it but I think baseball has plenty of superstars. To me this is the quote that guys will remember and not like Harper very much and want to drill him in the side to remind him of his place. He is going to be fascinating to watch over the next few years though.

    • paperlions - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:33 AM

      He’s right. There are very few players that you just HAVE to see when they come to your town because you never know what they might do…which is probably more of a reflection of the quality of competition than anything else. And the guys that are great are pretty boring….there is more to being a “super star” than performance.

      • davidpom50 - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        “There are very few players that you just HAVE to see when they come to your town because you never know what they might do”

        I think that’s kind of the nature of super stardom – if there were more guys who you HAD to see, then you don’t HAVE to see any of them – you can catch the next one.

        But this whole discussion reminds me of something fun – in the late 90’s, early 00’s, the LA Clippers used to market their ticket sales based around the opposing teams. You could buy a package to see Jordan, Malone, Shaq, etc. The commercials for that package never mentioned or showed a single Clippers player.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Mar 15, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        If I’m taking his meaning correctly he’s defining superstar as a combination of top of the game talent and personality. Pujols is an amazing player…maybe the best since Ted Williams, but I don’t know anything about him. I don’t think I even know what his voice sounds like. Honestly I think the last superstar like he’s walking about was Manny. Before that? I dunno…Jr.?

    • wurst2first - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:39 AM

      I read this as meaning that baseball needs more stars with marketable personalities that are unique and interesting beyond their slash line and HR total.

      I know they make some people cringe, but guys like Nyjer Morgan, Brian Wilson, Dirk Hayhurst, and Logan Morrison are good for the game since a lot of baseball players have a tendency to skew pretty homogenous at times. Canned postgame quotes and meaningless platitudes about “playing the game the right way” or “just taking it one day at a time out there” don’t really do much to engage casual fans or drive fans to be as interested as they should be in the greatest game in the world.

      Guys with big personalities (that produce in similar outsized fashion) can only be good for the game. Baseball needs more heroes AND more heels.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:17 AM

        Guys like that are good for the game only because guys like you live for twitter and tmz.

        Personally, I’ll go with Teddy’s quote:

        “Walk softly and carry a big stick”.

        The numbers do make superstars, and that comes from playing the game well. Not shooting their mouths off about their personal lives.

        I’ll take an MVP caliber player who never opens his mouth over a minor leauger or platoon player who never shuts up

        How many established stars do you see acting like Harper and Morrison?

      • wurst2first - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

        “I’ll take an MVP caliber player who never opens his mouth over a minor leauger or platoon player who never shuts up.”

        Bold claim – you’d take an MVP caliber player over a platoon player or AAAA guy? Careful, paper tigers don’t have teeth or claws, but you could still get a nasty paper cut.

        My point is this: to market and grow the game to as wide an audience as possible, you need charismatic stars. Baseball traditionalists have a tendency to actively suppress, rather than capitalize, on the charisma of its greatest players.

        Not every baseball player is going to be the blank canvass of personality on which bad sportswriters and lazy analysts love to project either minimally-existent or non-existent attributes like, “he just loves to play the game” or “he goes about things with a quiet determination.” Far too often people would rather have a guy they know nothing about so they can presume to know them than actually find out what these guys are like.

        I applaud guys like Harper for being themselves and not conforming to some old white guy’s archaic ideas about the way a ballplayer should comport themselves at all times. And yes, being awesome at baseball is a definite prerequisite, but guys with more attitude than production don’t stick around very long anyway.

        I personally hope Harper helps usher in a new crop of of charismatic and uber-talented weirdos like Rickey Henderson, Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez. You might hate them, you might find their quirks endearing – but they’ll get people talking about and engaged in baseball, and that’s good for the game.

      • mel47 - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        Dustin Pedroia

    • 5thbase - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      I totally agree with his comment. Think about the past … the guys you would drop everything to watch. I can’t think of anyone who really fits the bill now. A lot of good players out there for sure, but nobody I would rather watch than Griffey or Pedro (for instance) in their prime years.

  3. skids003 - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    He’s a punk. Nobody likes a smart ass, which he is an A1 superstar at that.

  4. pellypell - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Do I need to list all of the so called “Cant Miss Prospects” that have come along in the last 20 years that ended up missing? This guy, until he puts up 4 or 5 years of superstar level stats is still just that, a prospect.

    • jwbiii - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:34 AM

      The list of #1 position player prospects who were busts? Sure. Go for it.

      • pellypell - Mar 16, 2012 at 9:30 AM

        Here is a quick 5:

        Brien Taylor, 1991, No. 1 overall, Yankees
        Matt Anderson, 1997, No. 1 overall, Tigers
        Matt Bush, 2004, No. 1 overall, Padres
        Shawn Abner, 1984, No. 1 overall, Mets
        Jeff King, 1986, No. 1 overall, Pirates

        If we go top 2 or 3, I can name 20 in 5 minutes. My point is there have been many top prospects that have been can’t miss, anointed “NEXT”, only to falter once they hit the BIGS.

  5. brian1413 - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I love this kids attitude. He is damn good and knows it. He goes out on the field and backs it up. He plays his ass off every time he steps on the field and does whatever it takes to win. I cannot wait to see this kid in the bigs.

  6. Tribe&Browns&Cavs - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    After the debacle that is LeBron James, I’m turned off by anyone who glows arrogance before earning anything in the big show. Confidence is fine, but when the head is bigger than the resume, that’s a major red flag for me. Robert Griffin III has been a good example of the right way to do it. The media portrays him as a star, but he comes off as knowing he has something to prove. That’s what I consider a potential superstar, not a kid like this.

  7. babych99 - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    This guys going to see alot of fastballs, high and inside if he continues to be a douchebag.

  8. lionsplayoffs - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    When he said “baseball needs more superstars” he didn’t finish the sentence. What he meant to say was “baseball needs more superstars who aren’t juicing.”

  9. phukyouk - Mar 15, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    he is going to get layed out the first time he slides cleats first into the second baseman and injures the guy. looking forward.

    confidence is one thing.. arrogance is something else. hes got the latter at the moment.

    • 5thbase - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      Watch Justin Upton go into 2nd base some time. He does exactly what Harper is talking about and he hasn’t had any issues. Going in hard does not mean it’s dirty. People who actually know the game respect people who play hard even if they’re on the other team.

      • phukyouk - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        “That first knock of the game, you are going on kickoff and you are just trying to smack somebody just as hard as you can. That’s how I play baseball. I want to hit you. I want to run your ass over. Sorry.””

        he WANTS to hurt you.. not the same thing by any means

  10. danrizzle - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    It bears note every so often in discussions about baseball (and I think that this might be one of those times–indeed any discussion about Harper usually becomes one of those times) that throwing a baseball at someone from over sixty feet away is not a manly way to settle a grievance.

  11. Reggie's Bush - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Love it. Every sport needs a bad guy/villain.

    Even if he seems like a Richard, you can tell he cares and that’s good enough for me.

    • phukyouk - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      “Love it. Every sport needs a bad guy/villain.”

      Manny… nuff said

    • acheron2112 - Mar 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      We already have the New York Yankees for that.

      • protius - Mar 16, 2012 at 12:25 PM


  12. leerosenthall - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Sounds like he’s hoping to be the Second Coming of Ty Cobb. Gonna be tough for his talent to match his hubris. Should be fun to watch how it all plays out.

  13. sfm073 - Mar 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    So he says he likes to play the game hard and I’m supposed to be upset by that?

  14. nightman13 - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I understand the guy is young and brash, but somebody needs to tell him that making your youthful mistakes in the public eye can be difficult to shake.

    Right now he’s in the LeBron zone for me, he’s running his mouth before he’s accomplished anything and thinking he’s bigger than the sport, maybe he should tweet LBJ to see how he likes the ramifications.

    Even if he kept his mouth shut all this time, the media coverage has painted a huge target on him. Being a young kid, playing a man’s game with a media imposed target and a self imposed target is stacking the odds against him.

    Good luck kid, but I’d advise you don’t sing it, bring it.

    • jimbo1949 - Mar 15, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      “Being a young kid, playing a man’s game”

      more like being a young man, playing a kid’s game.

      • nightman13 - Mar 16, 2012 at 11:50 AM

        How many kids are in the big leagues? Last I checked like 90% of guys don’t get there until close to their mid 20’s.

  15. druhlman - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I’d like to see him stand in against Verlander and say some of those things…those are two ego’s that would violently collide!

  16. patg1041 - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Someone on here said Dustin Pedroia, but really there is a big difference between the two. There are two types of cocky. There’s the arrogant douchebag type of cocky that everyone hates. Then there’s the joking, funny type of cocky that can actually be pretty charming. Dustin Pedroia is definitely the latter and I think Harper is much more heavily skewed towards the former.

  17. professor59 - Mar 15, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Yep, he’s a huge jackass and he’ll ruin the team. Trade him now to the Phillies for Dom Brown before he poisons the clubhouse!

  18. carolinakid - Mar 15, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    This oughta be an awesome season !

    Alot of new managers and good young talent. Big stars moving around.

    All I can say is


  19. bbk1000 - Mar 15, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    He looks like something from a Shrek movie….

  20. lostsok - Mar 16, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Wow. What a douche. I’m glad he’s NOT on my team. Honestly don’t care how talented he is…I’m rooting for him fail, and fail hard.

    • braddavery - Mar 16, 2012 at 3:41 AM

      That makes you so much better than him.

  21. denny65 - Mar 16, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    I don’t like this kid; never have. This “GQ” tripe talk just confirms it.

  22. stoutfiles - Mar 16, 2012 at 7:43 AM

    Maybe he should do play a season in the big leagues before he talks about how great he is.

  23. protius - Mar 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I don’t know about this kid being a good citizen, but if you ask me, I think he needs a little rhino-plasti.

    He’s got a schozz; a two car garage. The beak-o-the week.

  24. phillyburgh - Mar 19, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Punk !! He will regret these words!

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