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Harper’s uneventful debut

Mar 2, 2012, 9:09 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Bryce Harper leads off first base during today's game against Georgetown.

VIERA, Fla. — Bryce Harper ambled to the plate for the bottom of the third inning, staring down Georgetown sophomore right-hander Jack Vander Linden, as a crowd of 1,341 at Space Coast Stadium watched, hoping to see Harper swing his mighty bat and see the baseball soar into the Viera sky.

And what did they get from the 19-year-old Nationals phenom? A drag bunt. Yes, a drag bunt. Not a terribly great one either. Vander Linden managed to corral the ball to the right of the mound and toss to first base a step ahead of Harper.

This is what everyone was waiting for? The game's best power-hitting prospect trying to beat out a bunt?

"Just a bunt," Harper said later, downplaying the whole thing. "I bunted a couple times this year. Just trying to work on things in spring training."

Perhaps it's the surest sign yet of Harper's new-found maturity. He could've swung for the fences, tried to hit the ball a country mile andRead more »

  1. Section 222 - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    I'm really glad that Harper will face Livo tomorrow. I hope he gets to see the Bugs Bunny curveball. Not sure what I hope happens after that though.

  2. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    and you fon't use that high a pick on a reliever unless you've just gotten strikeout Jesus.Uh Steady dude? Wrong again pal. See Storen, Drew a first round pick. Josh Smoker left-handed reliever and first round pick dude. Sheesh!You might consider doing some research first? Just a suggestion.Meyer is still growing according to reports and height is an issue when it comes to control. Not every pitcher is able to master it. The Big Unit is one example it took him quite a number of years to finally become master of it. Meyer may also end up in the bullpen its still TBD.

  3. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    What speeds were the Hoya pitchers tossing at? Is it possible (likely?) Harper saw a faster fastball today than he'll see from Livo tomorrow?

  4. Oldguy - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:44 PM

    Harper's performance strikes me as showing a more mature attitude. Can you imagine him doing that a year ago?

  5. baseballswami - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    So – what does everyone think of the new "Natitude" campaign?

  6. Steady Eddie - Mar 2, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Anon @ 4:24 — and you might work on your reading comprehension or your knowledge of the Nats a bit: unless you've just gotten strikeout Jesus was a reference to the fact that Strasburg was picked 10 slots before Storen in the 2009 draft. A real Nats fan would know who "strikeout Jesus" was, too, at least in that context.Enough already — time for a beer. Trust an anon to be tiresome, and show himself as not worth the conversation.

  7. Oldguy - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Team chemistry is a make-or-break component that the statisticians can't measure. Whatever they call it, a positive attitude is good.

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM

    Oh, Eddie. If only it were that easy.

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    baseballswami said…So – what does everyone think of the new "Natitude" campaign?Meh. They have focused, rightly, on building up the baseball side. As Langston Hughes once wrote, "Gotta neglect something, so what would you do?"

  10. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    swami, I kinda like the campaign. I'm also liking Harper's Natitude. :-)

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    But it won't matter much, I think. The team on the field will make or break it. This is going to be a much better year to watch the Nats than any since 2005, easy.

  12. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    We were typing at the same time, sec3. Agreed re. the team on the field, and the much better forecast.

  13. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    Of course, the catchphrase is just one small part of the campaign, so I guess I shouldn't be so hasty.

  14. natsfan1a - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    For sure, the t-shirts could make or break it. :-)

  15. sjm308 - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    I am starting my campaign for R. Martin. I followed him last year and he has impressed me at each stop. I realize we have absolutely NO ROOM in our bullpen but he seems to have what it takes. I am hoping he will be the closer in Syracuse but I will have to check in at Nats Prospects and see what they think as well. We must like him because I think he was picked for the Arizona League. Great story if someone from a Mexican Beer League can jump up to make the Major Leagues.Undefeated – Unscored onGo Nats!!

  16. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    A real Nats fan would know who "strikeout Jesus" was, too, at least in that context.Enough already — time for a beer. Trust an anon to be tiresome, and show himself as not worth the conversation.And Trust and anon with a handle like Steady Eddie not to know thing one about pitching or about the prospects he is touting. Nor really, anything at all about the Nats minor league system which I've been following for a number of years.Trying to quell ignorance in newbies can be very tiresome IMHO.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Oh, Eddie. If only it were that easy.Oh yeah, sec3 kind of like proclaiming Michael Morse a lousy AAAA shortstop which and many others here did? Dude, get over yourself.Morse is now featured in their new commercial. LIke Sgt. Schultz you know nothing.

  18. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    I am starting my campaign for R. Martin. I followed him last year and he has impressed me at each stop. I realize we have absolutely NO ROOM in our bullpen but he seems to have what it takes.I wouldn't go that far … a couple of propitious trades are still required to put this team on pace for division titles. Some of what they need could seemingly come from the minors. But Rizzo prefers proven major league to potential. So …

  19. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    See, Eddie, I told you it wouldn't be easy. Now we'll have to scroll past half the blog for a week.

  20. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    But I'll join you in that beer. Duffy's?

  21. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    FOR that beer. Just to be clear.

  22. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    See, Eddie, I told you it wouldn't be easy. Now we'll have to scroll past half the blog for a week.Gee, old coot Mr. Sec3 Wilson from San Francisco NOT DC? Can I play in your back yard Martha said it was okay? – signed Dennis.

  23. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    But while we're on the subject of graphic brand identity, may I first just say, "What, no eye-black?"

  24. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    I did like his modesty in not pointing out that it was the wind, "howling" in from right, that held his drag bunt in the park. Long gone on most days.

  25. DWS - Mar 2, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    I wish I could tell the future. Would have made a fortune on the Cards. Anon (Dennis) useful aka as thoughtful posts are greatly appreciated.Do you have one?Sorry if I missed it.

  26. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    as thoughtful posts are greatly appreciated.I've made many more than most including sec3 … and backed many up with some reasonably solid mathematics instead of bluster … as I did when I originally touted Michael Morse well before you probably graced the scene Mr. DWS.

  27. DWS - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Dennis,Following this team through Jarry Park, Coco, Rusty, Boots, Bill Stoneman(two no hitters), Steve Rogers etc. Now following the Nats. Your point? I've seen Larry Walker, Andre Dawson, and Gary Carter play. Ellis Valentine, Dawson, Cromartie on the cover of the Sporting News.Thanks again for your knowledgeable input.

  28. public service announcement - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:17 PM

  29. DWS - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    Thanks for the wake-up public service.

  30. Anonymous - Mar 2, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Anon @ 6:03pm – that wasn't you that originally touted Michael Morse – it was me, and everyone knows it.

  31. Anonymous - Mar 3, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    Wait a sec – it was I that originally saw Morse in the hospital nursery and I said right then and there, at 2 hours old " that kid is a beast and I bet he'll hit 30 Hr and bat .300 and probably play in Washington some 25 years from now when they get a team."sheesh, some anons take all the credit

  32. Anon an' on an' on to the last syllable of recorded time - Mar 3, 2012 at 4:00 AM

    OK, you've won me over, I'll settle on an identifiable pseudonym from now on, and when I don't use this, you'll know it's not me, and should feel free–encouraged, in fact–to just ignore the post. I insist.

  33. Anonymous - Mar 3, 2012 at 6:44 AM

    Worried that harper is a knucklehead at this point (not shocking at 19). I get the sense many in the media as well as fans are overlooking/minimizing some of what's he's said/done in the not too distant past. In the long run, Nats may well be better off if he struggles a bit and spends more time in the minors. Media keeps referring favorably to Davey pushing for Gooden to be in the majors for the Mets at 19. Looked good for a while, but not so good in the long run. If Harper lands with the nats this year, hopefully what seems to be a strong clubhouse character will keep him in line.

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