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Bryce Harper: ‘They didn’t miss me at all’

Sep 13, 2013, 11:18 AM EST

Harper gets cortisone, PRP injections AP

This week Mark sat down with Bryce Harper after the outfielder missed four games due to a sore left hip. On the topic of injury, Harper talked about missing time this season and how the team has played without him. He says the Nats didn’t miss him at all in the lineup, as they won each game he didn’t play.

Harper also discussed his trip back to Washington to get further testing on the hip. He had to leave the team who was playing in Miami at the time, but rejoined them in New York after tests showed no structural damage.

Harper described that experience as something that gave him “peace of mind.”


  1. Section 222 - Sep 13, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    For a guy who is supposedly happy every day because he gets to play baseball for a living, he sure sounds depressed and guarded. Lighten up and smile Bryce! The season’s almost over.

  2. Steady Eddie - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    222- hey, lighten up on the guy. This is a totally unprecedented experience for a 20-year old, no matter how preternaturally advanced/gifted he may be in many aspects.

    One thing to have to cope with the downer of the team’s underperformance up to mid-last month. But for him to be so limited in his physical capabilities thAt he can’t really be Bryce Harper — and thus to be a part of that underperformance for reasons largely beyond his control after the injuries happened — must be an almost incomprehensiblt humbling experience. Especially after his remarkable April showed his capabilities when healthy.

  3. Section 222 - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Oh boo hoo. Yes, it must be tough to be one of the youngest superstars in baseball and make millions of dollars a year at age 20. My heart bleeds for him.

    He doesn’t owe us or anyone else anything. I was just commenting that he sure seems depressed for supposedly being happy every day. I don’t care much how he acts when he’s interviewed.; I just want him to do what he does on the baseball diamond. And what he does is pretty darn amazing, so I’m glad I’ll get to watch it for the next five years. But don’t expect me also to feel sorry for the guy. Not gonna happen.

    • Sonny G 10 - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Man, deuces. Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

  4. Steady Eddie - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Hmmm, you don’t sound much like someone who’s made peace with a disappointing season…..

    — and not seeing that it was an explanation not an excuse. I don’t really have much in the way of feelings about his reaction personally.

  5. adcwonk - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Whatever the cause, reason, justified, not, age, whatever . . . we all have to hope Bryce is a very happy camper in DC at some point because he becomes a free agent. . . .

  6. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Off topic, but here’s an interesting Fangraphs item on buying/selling/trading signing-bonus allotments:

    Teams may not be able to trade draft picks, but is this the next best thing? And when are some dollars worth more than others?

  7. Section 222 - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Thanks for that link Eugene. I always hate it when someone sends me off to Fangraphs because then I end up reading about five more articles. Then again, maybe I love it. Anyway, this is a fascinating piece comparing the fastballs of the two fastest pitchers in baseball — Chapman and Rondon.

  8. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Maybe he seemed a little “guarded,” but that’s probably a good thing, considering every syllable he utters is parsed by the national sports press. He seemed serious and even thoughtful, also probably a good thing–he needs to reflect on his difficulties, his performance, the fact that the team can win even without him, etc., and especially on the fact that the physical pain won’t go away until the season is over. He seemed to be smiling when he was on the practice field, that’s enough for me. Kid is growing up.

    • Steady Eddie - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:39 PM


  9. chiefwj - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Sounded to me that he’s been taking lessons from Zim & some other vets on the art of giving non-answer answers and trying to be as nonquotable as possible. Not necessarily the worst result for someone who might benefit from less media attention, particularly on the road. It seems like at this stage of his career he’s becoming OK with not being the go-to guy for quotes (or non-quotes).

  10. Section 222 - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Fair enough. . I just think for a 20 year old he seems thoughtful, serious, guarded, and kind of joyless all the time. I hope he’s having more fun than it appears.

    Anyone know, or Mark could you tell us, is Harper doing these kinds of sitdowns with a whole line of reporters, or is this a special deal you worked out with him? Pretty cool.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      Re your second point/query: I’ve been working under the assumption that some sort of book deal is in the works. Just a guess, though.

    • NatsLady - Sep 13, 2013 at 3:00 PM

      I’ve never understood this need by fans to expect players to “have fun” at their jobs.

      This is far from the only time I’ve heard that sentiment. Do you expect a doctor or airplane pilot to have fun at his job? No, you expect him to work hard and be competent at it, and hopefully, if he or she does it well, YOU will have fun, be healthier, etc. I have as pleasant employment as anyone could wish for, but I don’t have FUN, as a general rule (an occasional laugh, pleasure, yes, but not routine FUN). My fun comes from watching and rooting for the Nats. If they are out there goofing off and having fun, and losing, that ain’t fun for me, and I’m paying the bill.

      When Harper is working–which in his case includes interviews–I don’t expect or hope that he’s having fun and I’d pretty much guess that most of the time, he isn’t. He’s playing through pain, and when he isn’t playing he’s training/rehabbing/traveling, etc. He can be the best player in the league and will still fail 70% of the time.

      Maybe he gets to see his GF a few times in six months. He’s away from his family. He has cameraderie, maybe even friendships with his teammates, and I don’t downplay that AT ALL–and I’m glad to see that when they win all the hard work is worth it, and they can celebrate and so can we. But I think being a baseball player is not an easy life, and the same for most entertainers.

      • Section 222 - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:04 PM

        Welcome back with a vengeance NL. You can guess all you want about how he’s feeling and why, but he himself said, in this very interview that he’s blessed to play baseball, that it’s better than any other job (including an airline pilot or a doctor), so coming to the park he’s always happy, smiling and laughing and trying to have a good time. And any day he can play this game of baseball is a good day.

        All I said was that his demeanor in this and many other interviews didn’t seem to show that and I hope – not I expect or demand– but I hope, he’s having more fun than it appears. No judgment, no criticism, just my own hope, from a middle-aged fan to a 20 year old phenom, that he’s having a good time, yes, that he’s having fun.

        As for it being a good thing that he’s guarded because of all the scrutiny he’s under, a sit down with Mark is not a press conference with the national media under the klieg lights ready to pounce on any misstep. Mark’s not going to burn him. He almost certainly wouldn’t even run a piece of tape that’s embarrassing or politically incorrect. Harper’s media trainers seem to have drained the life out of the poor guy. Guess we won’t be getting any T-shirt inscribe-able “that’s a clown question bro'” quotes any time soon.

      • NatsLady - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        Welcome back? Where have I been?

        Are you kidding about an interview with Mark not being in the national spotlight? Do you visit any other websites, such as Hardball Talk? Just today Davey’s comment about Harper needing to stop with the bats–and video of same–is posted. Everything Harper does is a magnet for scrutiny in a way that Trout, for example, isn’t, but Puig and Fernandez are. Bland on bland is the ticket, and you will still see posts about what a jerk Harper is for that blown kiss in the minors.

        I hope Harper is happy in his profession, because it’s a hard one. He strived all his life to get there, his family sacrificed. I hope it lives up to his dreams because, as I see it, he’s basically a good kid, and anyway, I generally wish most people are happy.

        He seems happy–at least he talks happy words.That’s different (to me) than having “fun” on a daily basis and making jokes during interviews, but, YMMV.

        On a different but related topic. Adam Dunn made noises recently about retiring after this season because it isn’t “fun” for him. That’s a choice he can make because he’s financially set (of course he would forfeit the rest of his contract). Some of us make those choices–I certainly did.

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Keep in mind, Bryce is not a normal human being. Child prodigies growing up in public are going to react differently than most people.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Plus, I’ve always gotten the impression he doesn’t much like being interviewed. Some people just don’t. It’s part of his job, but it’s the “job” part.

    Still, “have fun” is never bad advice for a ballplayer.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Unless you just hit a home run off the Braves.





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