When Bryce Harper and Mike Trout won the Rookie of the Year awards for their respective leagues, many analysts projected that the two would become stars in the league. Those analysts have been proven correct. Trout and Harper are arguable the two best players in baseball right now.
Trout has been known to be more humble of the two similar to how Derek Jeter carried himself for many years. Harper, on the other hand, has been known to speak his mind regardless of what the public may think. Simply put, he is indeed oozing confidence (cockiness if you want to be blunt). However, when you have the skill that he does on the field, you are allowed to act that way if you may so choose.
Harper has been attempting to use his star power to help “make baseball fun again”. Many have criticized Harper for his suggestions, worrying that if the MLB goes through with his ideas, the game may change so much and lose it’s class. Despite the mixed feelings from the general public, should the league actually consider some of these ideas that he has? Well, let’s look at one of the first statements Harper has made for his efforts.
Earlier this year, Harper spoke on the March edition of Sport Illustrated in which he would say, “Baseball is a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself.” He would also express that because of this, baseball is not appealing to the younger audience because of its old ideals and practices.
In my opinion, Harper does make a fair point. Times have certainly changed with society. For better or for worse, the values that this country used to carry are no more. Showboating is indeed frowned upon by many, myself included, but the younger generation seems to gravitate towards athletes with swagger.
Kobe Bryant is a perfect example of that statement being true. When Bryant emerged onto the NBA scene, he was beloved by fans for the way that he carried himself. He oozed confidence and charisma and always believed he was the best player on the court, no matter who his opponents were.
The MLB had a leader for about 20 years who was the exact opposite of that in Derek Jeter. Jeter was loved for his humbleness, class and undeniable passion for the game. However, now that he’s gone, the MLB doesn’t have a guy who I see as a true stand out leader.
Both stars, though different would retire being recognized as icons. Both had 5 rings and both helped elevate their sport’s popularity tremendously.
Do we want another Jeter in baseball? Well, chances are we won’t get another Jeter like player. Now it’s time for the MLB to be carried by someone else who is also unique and stands out from the rest of the league.
Could that man be Bryce Harper? It’s very possible that Harper leads the MLB into popularity again with his Kobe-like cockiness and charisma. That would get people to tune into the game. Whether it’s to spread hate towards the man or to show love, fans would be emotionally invested into the game.
I don’t think it would be the worst thing in the world for the MLB to push the edges a bit and allow a new element to the game in giving freedom for the league to express themselves. Do you think Harper’s idea is fair or is it way into outer space?