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Bryce Harper says no to beer, cortisone shots

Mar 27, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers Getty Images

Adam Kilgore has a story about Bryce Harper and the way he takes care of his body. His only apparent vice: ice cream and occasional Starbucks drinks. But otherwise, his body is a temple. That goes for even the occasional beer now that he’s 21. It even goes for certain drugs and treatments that are commonplace and accepted in baseball.

Last year it was suggested that he take cortisone to deal with his knee injury. He didn’t want to and put it off. Eventually he did. But:

Looking back, Harper regrets taking the cortisone. He found the effects fleeting and the risk unworthy. He plans to never use cortisone again.

“I don’t think it really changed me,” Harper said. “I was still hurt. It gave me a boost for a week, where I felt, ‘Hey, I feel good.’ But then a couple days later, it was like, ‘Ack, this sucks.’ I’ll probably never do that again. I don’t like putting that stuff in my body. I don’t want to. I’m just not a big fan of it.”

He says he should have had the surgery he had in the offseason as soon as the injury happened. He goes on to talk about things relating to playing through pain, which sound like they contrast a bit with what you usually hear in baseball about playing through pain (you should do it) vs. playing through injury (you should not).

Obviously you’d rather have a guy erring on the side Harper is erring on — as opposed to erring on the side of excess — when it comes to junk food, drink and performance-enhancing drugs. How many guys aren’t at their best because they’re playing with hangovers or lugging around extra weight? But that Harper’s aim to keep his system pure might come into conflict with the team’s medical advice is potentially troublesome.


  1. bolweevils2 - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    The idea that you should play with pain but should not play with injury seems odd to me. The reason you have pain is due to an injury. What they are really saying is you should play with a minor injury but not with a major one, which just opens up the can of worms as to where to draw that line.

    • yahmule - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      Doctors can examine an injury and tell a player if there’s risk of further damage. If there’s not, then it becomes a personal decision for the athlete (though, the pressure to play through pain can be intense) and whether he can perform with the injury. Dustin Pedroia tore a ligament in his thumb on opening day last year and then went on to lead the American League in plate appearances. The only part of his game to suffer slightly was power. Dustin Pedroia is not like most people, but most athletes at that level are able to play through pain that the average person couldn’t possibly endure. Now, granted, many athletes use painkillers, but you can’t do that for an entire season.

      • drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        Well, you can, but then you end up like most of the NFL. (oops)

  2. historiophiliac - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Don’t do it! I had the shot in my knee and I regret it too.

    Good grief, Craig. He’s not a side of beef for the team docs to shoot up however they want.

    • chacochicken - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:44 AM

      North DC Thirty Four.

    • yahmule - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Cortisone is terrible. If your doctor is recommending it, find another doctor.

      • indaburg - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        Cortisone has its benefits. Do a risk/benefit analysis to see if the benefits outweigh the risks.

        (And if anyone is getting his or her medical advice from a baseball blog, Lord/Jobu/mother goddess help you.)

      • stex52 - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:27 PM

        Hey Indy! Que paso?

      • yahmule - Mar 28, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        I get all my advice from baseball blogs.

  3. realgone2 - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    The CM Punk of baseball. Both over rated and self righteous.

    • renaado - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      Even though this guy probably lives in the States, Harper probably needs more lesson than Puig on how to keep he’s emotions in the field stably, probably also know that baseball is not about arguing close calls.

      • NatsLady - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        Someone needs grammar and typing lessons.

      • renaado - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        Typing lessons? That I probably need, but Grammar? No. There’s somewhat a mental difference on how you express on what you want to say depending on where you are right now especially when your talking on a person with a different nationality to those with your own. English is not my 1st language by the way so I think you’d find that understandable no?

      • NatsLady - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        @renaado: I understand if English is not your first language. But it’s ironic that your post declaring you don’t need grammar lessons contains at least three grammatical errors. I also understand if you have difficulty expressing yourself in English. However, it took me three tries to grasp what you were attempting to convey about Harper. Most people are not willing to expend that type of effort on comments in a blog.

        Even though this guy probably lives in the States [he does], Harper probably needs more lessons than Puig on how to keep his emotions stable. He should also learn that baseball is not about arguing close calls.

        Because no one ever argued a close call, an umpire has never been wrong and there is no replay system about to be implemented.

      • renaado - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        I just watched the MLB video a while back in a ST game match showing the Mets vs Nats where Harper was ejected though because of a close call at 1st.

    • jerze2387 - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      ….says the self righteous, CM punk of the comments section on HBT.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      He’s Mormon, he’s just following his religious beliefs. Honestly, good for him.

      • paperlions - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        Except for starbucks….do they have caffeine free drinks?

      • stex52 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Yes they do Paper. My wife drinks caffeine all morning, so by the time we get to an afternoon Starbucks she always goes for the caffeine-free.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Your jealousy is showing.

  4. Rich Stowe - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    cortisone is bad over the long term – the damage it does is amazing – they’re just now finding out that long term use is not good for the body

    short term use is fine, but long-term isnt’

  5. nymets4ever - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    I admire Bryce’s dedication to conditioning and nutrition. Hope these good habits lead to a long Hall of Fame career. You’re not missing out anyway, beer is the most overrated thing in the Universe.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      As mentioned above, he’s a practicing Mormon. They don’t drink or put many things in their body that have adverse effects (like caffeine for instance).

      • shyts7 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        Why even take any medicine then?. All medicine can have an adverse effect. Blows my mind that they can pick and choose what they can do, but, of course that is another argument in how wacky the mormon religion is or any religion for that matter. Wonder if he wears his “special” underwear also?

      • nolanwiffle - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:31 AM

        I’ll have you know the underwear was never considered to be “special”. It’s magic…..and there’s a difference.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        I have not met a person yet who doesn’t display some logical inconsistencies, but it’s not cool to make fun of someone’s religious beliefs. Making fun of others does not demonstrate that you are more enlightened or tolerant.

        Just because you take some medicine doesn’t mean you should have to take any or all medicine. I pick and choose what I take. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t — most especially because most medicines affect different people differently.

      • shyts7 - Mar 27, 2014 at 9:44 PM

        You should read up on the Mormon religion. You might be shocked to learn that Joseph Smith was a crook who was basically thrown out of multiple locations for trying to swindle people out of money and such. It’s a joke.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:29 PM

        You should read up on the Mormons too and then you might be ashamed of the way they were harassed for their religious beliefs despite the fact that our Constitution is supposed to assure religious freedom.

      • shyts7 - Mar 28, 2014 at 10:57 AM

        historiophiliac, I’m not saying they can’t believe in that. The most certainly can believe in whatever they want. But, when you believe in what is essentially magic underwear and think that when you die you get your own planet, you obviously have problems. Yet, I bet most people make fun of Scientology yet it is no different than most religions. Remember the old saying a lie told long enough eventually becomes the truth. I’m fine with Harper using medicine to help him, but, don’t act like some medicine is bad and others are good when they are almost the same thing. That kind of thinking is where religion holds us back as a humans from discovering new things and things that can better our species.

    • Rich Stowe - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      yeah, because beer only hurt players like Ruth, Mantle, Christy Mathewson…oh wait, no it didn’t…

      • largebill - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:35 AM

        It is impossible to exactly quantify what affect beer, or other substances & behaviors may have had on players careers. However, it is safe to say Ruth and Mantle occasionally were not in peak playing condition due to overindulging. Ruth’s 1925 season was his worst/shortest due to an ailment never fully explained but likely caused by his “living large.” Looking at years before and after that season, he probably lost 20+ homers.

      • drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        Huh? Abuse of booze wrecked the last third of Mantle’s career.

      • stex52 - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        Plus, of course, the liver transplant.

  6. renaado - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Trying stuffs that are new has it’s it’s benefits!! I’d take this example right here.

  7. shawnuel - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Well, I think Mantle would disagree with you about whether or not beer/alcohol hurt his career. I’d say it is the degree to which you use it.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM

      Mantle can’t really disagree with you about what alcohol did to him given that he died of, you know, liver failure.

      • skids003 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        I think hot dogs got the Babe.

  8. thenaturalmevs - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    His thoughts on cortisone show how odd the Mormon belief can be.

  9. stex52 - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    All this Bryce Harper hate baffles me. I am familiar with all of the contrived “arrogance” stories from a couple of years back and none of them impressed me much. Right now he seems like a pretty straightforward guy with a lot of talent who likes to play hard. And being careful about your health is a bad thing?

    I just don’t get the hate.

    • chacochicken - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Cole Hamels had to throw at him simply because Harper exists.

      • stex52 - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        More a reflection on Hamels than Harper, of course.

      • chacochicken - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        Hamels’ only excuse was that he (Cole) was “old school”.

  10. Eutaw's Finest - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    Body is a temple, eh? Only the occasional Starbucks and ice cream, huh? I seem to remember a little “Chipotle for life” ordeal last year. Whole wheat burrito or not, I wouldn’t exactly deem that food “temple worthy.”

    • blabidibla - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      It ain’t Taco Bell.

    • jm91rs - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      He’s probably sick of burritos by now anyway.

  11. NatsLady - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    OK, I’ll ask it. Where is the corresponding article on Mike Trout’s eating habits and drug-treatment preferences?

    • slaugin - Mar 27, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      He only eats Seafood and his Drug preference is strictly Cod Liver Oil

      • chacochicken - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        He actually hunts salmon with the Kodiak bears. Eats it raw. He then wrestles the bears for exercise and to assert dominance.

      • stex52 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM

        Damn. Those poor bears didn’t know what they were getting into.

      • jm91rs - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        He is the most over-rated bear wrestler in America.

  12. nvl004 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    wonder if he gets the flu shot?

    • nvl004 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      thumbs down??? It just me wondering jeez lol

      • nvl004 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:53 PM

        another thumbs down????? c’mon!!! lol

  13. thedoubleentandres - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    Was reading Ball Four the other day and there was a great story about Mantle. He had been blind drunk the night before a game and was sitting in the dug out, shakin like a sh1tt1ng dog, pale as a ghost when he was called up to pinch hit i think it said.
    Anyway there was 2 on and they needed a homer for the win and he staggered up to the plate and knocked the very first pitch into the upper decks and when he sat back down he said to Jim Bouton “those people will never know how hard that was”

    • anxovies - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      You beat me to it. I was thinking of that same passage in Ball Four. Harper will probably never be Mantle, and damn sure that Mantle was never a Harper.

      • thedoubleentandres - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:58 PM

        Do you remember the part where Bouton pitched his very first win for the yankees and when he came back to the clubhouse there was a row of towels on the ground leading up to his locker like a red carpet and he walked in just in time to catch Mantle laying down the last one…nearly brought a tear to me eye lol

  14. unlost1 - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    Cortisone is for clowns!

  15. drewsylvania - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    I love how we never hear of cortisone as a PED.

    • NatsLady - Mar 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

      We do. There were endless discussions of why it’s allowed when Ryan Zimmerman got shots in his shoulder. You can google it.

  16. stabonerichard - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    “I mean, I’m not perfect. I eat ice cream all the time.”

    Louie Anderson has a new favorite ballplayer.

  17. moogro - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    It’s always weird to me when people elevate certain foods, and not others into vice-land. Ice cream has a lot of empty calories, sugar and fat. I bet he wouldn’t say the same thing about big sloppy bacon cheesburgers, chili dogs, pizza, etc. A good portion of a lot of food items are terrible for a good nutrition plan.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:10 PM

      A choomongous thumbs up on that.

  18. frank35sox - Mar 27, 2014 at 1:47 PM

    Good slip in–TROLL. I am happy that I am giving you what you want.

    Worst. “Journalist.” Ever.

  19. genericcommenter - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    A lot of people get drinking out of their system before they turn 21.

  20. bleedgreen - Mar 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

    Its easy to say you’ll just heal naturally when you’re 21. I used to be a complete NUT when I was 21 and do some really stupid things. I would hurt/be sore for a few hours the next day, but then I was fine. Now that I’m 32, I can’t even change the oil in my car without being sore as hell for the next 2 days. I know he’s in a lot better shape than I’ll ever be in, but once you get to your 30’s its not quite the same as when you’re 20. Hell, I have no idea how someone like Abreu or Thome or even Jamie Moyer even walk the day after they played a game.

  21. fm31970 - Mar 27, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    “But that Harper’s aim to keep his system pure”

    Craig’s a RUSH fan? Huh.

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