The abrupt piece (its conclusion is hanging there and I was flipping pages wondering, “is that it?”) makes Harper look immature, arrogant, obnoxious and like he’s asking for trouble.
The comparisons to Gregg Jefferies are becoming more and more accurate. Jefferies was another phenom whose self-serving tantrums, self-containment and expectations of greatness from him and everyone else served to ruin his formative years with the Mets because of veteran hatred of the contrived nature of Jefferies’s biography.
Jefferies’s favorite player was Ty Cobb.
Harper’s is supposedly Pete Rose.
Ironically (or maybe not so much) Jefferies’s first big league manager was Davey Johnson.
Johnson is now managing the Nats and he made no secret of his desire to give Harper a chance to play in the big leagues. To make matters worse, he stuck the 19-year-old in center field.
The Nats resisted the temptation to promote Harper in part because he didn’t hit enough to force their hands and in part because they seem to be entertaining the idea of playing him in center field and giving him substantial time at the position in Triple-A.
Center field is a rotten idea on all levels because the mircorscope he’s currently under would be exacerbated. Even if he can play it adequately, it’s a bad idea.
His attitude is awful. I don’t care how talented he is.
Harper is rapidly becoming the Eddie Haskell-type player who utters the clichés to the media massed around his locker to put forth the pretense of humility, but when he’s alone—as he was with the author of the GQ piece Will Leitch—the real Harper comes out. It’s not an attractive picture; nor is it a positive portent for the future.
Of course Leitch and the other reporters don’t want Harper to change. It’s a juicy story when a young player draws the ire of everyone because of his personality. The target on Harper’s back will extend off the field with anyone and everyone trying to sabotage the image he’s trying to portray, but betrays when he’s alone as he was with Leitch.
He’s 19 and, thanks to his prodigious talents, has been enabled and catered to all his life. But when the real Harper comes out it doesn’t bode well for the future once he does get to the big leagues and is scrutinized exponentially to the way players were 20 years ago. Unless the Nats rein Harper in immediately, his behavior could ruin his career.
Click here for a full sample of Paul Lebowitz’s 2012 Baseball Guide (this link is of the Blue Jays) of team predictions/projections.
It’s great for your fantasy teams and useful all season long.