Like him or not, superstar outfielder Bryce Harper is changing the way the game of baseball is being played. As one of the most influential voices in the game, the 23-year-old spoke out last week about the lack of flashiness in America’s past time.
"“It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do.”Bryce Harper"
The slugger sounded off about how players in other sports can be flashy and have fun playing the game they love, while that isn’t necessarily the case in baseball. He’s trying to reinvigorate the game and it has caught on recently.
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Jose Bautista‘s bat flip in the playoffs drew a lot of ire, but is a great example of the passion that has been infused back into the game. Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez is one of the most passionate players in the game and he backed up Harper’s comments about baseball’s unwritten rules.
Of course, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed, and nobody is quite sure where that line is. Harper is certainly pushing that line out further and trying to encourage the game to embrace more showmanship. Older baseball fans may not be a fan of it, but that’s where the league is headed.
When one of the faces of the league, at just 23, is making public professions like this, a lot of young guys are going to follow suit. Obviously, players aren’t going to completely change their styles just because Harper says something, but it might encourage younger players to wear their hearts on their sleeves a little more.
Of course, this philosophy clashes with many veterans currently in the league. So, if the youth movement decides it wants to be more flashy, expect there to be blowback from the league’s elder statesmen. That could lead to some clashes this season and in the future, but hey, who doesn’t want to see a little more intensity in the sport?