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Bryce Harper and his “ferocious brand of baserunning”

Sep 7, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Bryce Harper AP

Last night’s benches-clearing scuffle between the Nationals and Cubs got all the headlines, but before things got ugly when Bryce Harper was nearly hit by a pitch in the sixth inning the 19-year-old rookie showed once again that he’s perhaps MLB’s most aggressive baserunner.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post did a great job describing Harper’s pre-scuffle work on the bases, which included stretching a double into a triple followed by this:

Ryan Zimmerman followed and tapped a dribbler to the left of the mound, which [Justin] Germano fielded. Just off third base, Harper froze as Germano looked him back. Germano, satisfied Harper would behave like the other 99 percent of major league baserunners, turned his back and threw to first.

Harper did not behave like other major league baserunners. He did not take two quiet steps back to third base. He ran like the fastest kid in Little League, the one who runs until he is tagged out and makes other parents want to look at his birth certificate. He ran like someone dared him to. Harper darted, hell-bent for home.

Harper was safe, tying the game at 1-1. And the Nationals spent the rest of the night making the Cubs look and act like they were the Little Leaguers.

  1. willclarkgameface - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Bryce Harper is a tool.

    • mordecofe - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:59 AM

      seriously, why does he run and play so hard when he could just loaf it like other players? what a bad apple.

      • natslady - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:53 AM

        This was after he turned a double into a triple…

        Did you see the last play of the game?

        Brett Jackson doubles (6) on a fly ball to center fielder Bryce Harper. Brett Jackson out at 3rd, right fielder Jayson Werth to shortstop Ian Desmond.

        Now, Werth might have caught the ball with a better read. But Jackson looked silly standing there waiting for the tag. Not to pick on him, but–it was so very Cubs-like.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        Don’t worry about being serious. Just some guy pretending to be Will Clark’s worst character traits. Nothing to see here.

        Young Jackson just had a brain cramp rounding second. Like Harper, he is young and will get better.

        Jayson Werth did not have a good night defensively. He also played a couple of doubles into the RF corner into triples. But it was just an off day.

    • pbsenerchia - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      God, you’re right – he IS a tool. Guess I was too busy actually watching him play to notice.

    • mjdkid100 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:00 PM

      Yes…a 5 tool.

    • crisisjunky - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Yeah, depending on your p.o.v.,
      Harper is either a Velvet Monkeywrench, or a Sonic Screwdriver.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      He’s a tool indeed!!! A freekin buzz-saw with no “off” switch. Just get out of his way and you won’t get hurt.

    • kkolchak - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:33 PM

      Speaking of colossal tools.

    • hammyofdoom - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      I dont think I’ve ever seen that many thumbs down…ever. We need some sort of award. Instead of a gold star how about a brown one? Or a nice Nats red?

    • kevinleaptrot - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:12 PM

      And you is a fool!!!!!

      • kevinleaptrot - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:12 PM

        From Kabul.

      • kevinleaptrot - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:13 PM

        Shooting pool.

      • kevinleaptrot - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:14 PM

        With Jewel.

      • kevinleaptrot - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:14 PM

        This is cruel.

  2. orakpownd - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    You spelled “Boss” wrong

  3. delawarephilliesfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Harper Man-Crash not written ? Is he sick today?

    • delawarephilliesfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM

      Man-Crush……EDIT FUNCTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • dondada10 - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM

        “…not writing?” is what your looking for. PROOFREADING!!!!!!!!!!

      • delawarephilliesfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        Yes, well….unless you are offering to proof read others posts, you are making the same argument.

        EDIT FUNCTION!!!!!!!!!!!

      • delawarephilliesfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:46 PM

        P.S. now that all the mo-jo is gone, that was supposed to be a tweak at Craig, who has a major Man-Crush (double checking….) on Harper.:

        Harper Man-Crush artcle not written by Craig? Is he sick today?

        Yea….really blew it….oh well.

  4. hisgirlgotburrelled - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Ho – ly shit! That is just something you do not see from fast runners.

  5. cur68 - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Meh. Harper’s ok, I guess. Brett Lawrie’s way more aggressive though. Lawrie used to pull that crap every game. One of the biggest things I miss about Beaver Ball: the aggressive Lawrie base running. Oh well: next season.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      All due respect to Young Mr. Lawrie’s hustle, but way more aggressive than Young Mr. Harper? Sorry, that’s not possible. Perhaps comparably aggressive (or reckless, depending on one’s point of view).

      • cur68 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:39 PM

        At last! Debate. Worthy debate, too.

        Greg, I acknowledge your point. I see your poker chip. And I raise you this: Brett Lawrie runs like his hair is on fire and his ass is catching even on a weak grounder to short, in every game. He fields a much tougher position, tries to catch everything even remotely in his direction and does so regardless of injury, harm to others, or if its impossible. He will truck any catcher, any time. If Cole Hamels had knocked him down, there would have been a fight and Hamel’s dog is too tiny to go toe to toe with Lawrie.

        I like Bryce Harper. He seems like a nice enough kid and he’s gone out of his way to cultivate his image of hard working kid. He gots the talent. He gots the work ethic. And he IS an aggressive base runner. Once in awhile. But he is in no way out Eckstein-ing Brett Lawrie for sheer game in, game out grit or hustle.

      • APBA Guy - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        Speaking as one with no dog in this hunt (hello to South Texas), you guys are really splitting hairs on the “quien es mas macho” debate: Lawrie o Harper. Think back 3 years and I give you Dustin Pedroia. A few years further back and you have Eric Byrnes. You get the idea. These guys all really hustle(d).

        The thing that separates Harper in my mind is that his hustle is not just aggressive, it’s pretty intelligent also. He rarely punishes his body to no effect, and he’s selective Bout crashing into walls or the ground, like Trout in that respect.

        Lawrie’s “all out, all the time” approach risks the kind of cumulative injury toll that has affected Pedroia and did affect Byrnes, not that Byrnes ever had the talent of the others.

      • natstowngreg - Sep 7, 2012 at 6:37 PM

        To my esteemed colleague from the Great White North: It’s not a question about who is more aggressive. I agree w/APBA that it’s splitting hairs. You said “way” more aggressive. After watching Harper play for most of a season, I’m not willing to concede that anyone is “way” more aggressive. Also, Harper often plays CF. I’m also not willing to concede that it’s an easier position than Lawrie’s.

        Even if we said that Lawrie was more aggressive, APBA also makes an excellent point about controlling one’s aggressiveness. Charging Hamels would have been foolish. Charging Lendy Castillo last night would have been foolish. As for aggressiveness on the field, I sometimes bring up the example of Pete Rieser, the Dodgers’ OF who was on a Hall of Fame trajectory, but ran into too many walls. Aggressiveness and hustle are good. But the way you decribe Lawrie, sounds like it’s uncontrolled aggression, which is not a good thing.

  6. icanspeel - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Even if you don’t like him, why not respect his hustle? He runs out grounders and tries to make things happen.

  7. jskins83 - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    any one who thinks harper is a tool is probaly a tool themself or jus jealous any real baseball fan has to respect the way he plays not one guy in the game plays as hard as him if jus shows mlb players and teams respect him thats why they throw at him and oh yeah he is a kid

  8. willclarkgameface - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    You dudes are sensitive. I never said I thought he wasn’t a talented player. He just an enormous douche bag.

    I still like Mike Trout more than this guy – as a player and human. Dislike away all of you that have your Bryce Harper man-crush going in full schwing.

    • cur68 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      And of course there’s nothing wrong with your Mike Trout man-crush. Nothing wrong with that at all.

    • danaking - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      Harper had a reputation as a bit of a douche coming up, but I have seen none of that since he made The Show. I live in the Nats market, so i hear a lot about him, and I’m not a Nats fan, so I’m not inclined to bend over to support him. What he looks like to me is an extraordinary talent who plays the game hard and right and is 19 years old. What turned me around completely on any perceived douche-ness was when he shot down the Canadian reporter with the now-famous “clown question” reply. He was smart enough to refuse to be baited, and handled it in a way that told everyone he was aware of the situation and had a little fun with it. I’m no Nats fan–you want to talk about douches, let’s chat about the Lerners–but I’ve become a fan of Harper.

    • pauleee - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      Why is he a douchebag (of any size)? Sure, there were some accounts of him being somewhat brash in the short time he was in the minors. But since coming up to the bigs, I can’t recall a single event in which he hasn’t come off as surprisingly mature and respectfulof the game. Even when (douchebag) pitchers are throwing at him out of some perceived lack of respect for – what? certainly not baseball, maybe for making these established players look a little less major leaguey?
      Trout’s my guy too, simply because he’s made the season bareable for us west coasters, but there’s plenty of room to give props to another great new reason to love baseball.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:20 PM

        pauleee, that would be “bearable”, not “bareable”, unless you are talking about removing clothing.

      • pauleee - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        Ok, fair enough, but have you ever been to an Angels’ game? Sometimes the best part is oogling the exposed skin. :)

        //or is it ogling?

  9. heelbostonfan - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Careful Bryce, or Mike Rizzo will shut you down too.

    • kkolchak - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      Ever come up with an original comment?

  10. goawaydog - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    P F Flyers

  11. earache88 - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Mike Trout has 44 stolen bases and Harper has 13. I think Trout’s base running is a lot more ferocious!!

    • kkolchak - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      But guess what? This thread isn’t about Trout. Imagine that.

  12. ravensoriolesnation - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    can’t stand the Nats, Harper all of them strawsbery or burger can’t wait to see him get smashed in the playoffs

    • kkolchak - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      You just going to go around posting the same exact stupid comment in every thread?

    • orakpownd - Sep 9, 2012 at 2:48 AM

      your tears feed the nationals. took us 7 years of existence brah…kind of like your Ravens.

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