I want to hate Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Maybe if they played for the Tigers I’d love them but two guys that young, that talented and that successful who aren’t on my team? Honestly, I really want to dislike them.
With Trout it’s a little harder because somehow he comes across as a good guy and great teammate despite only being 20 years old. Harper, it’s a little easier because he’s even younger, bro’ed out and he knows he’s good. That kind of self-assuredness often comes off as cockiness and that makes it easier to hate someone.
Yeah, I really want to hate these guys, especially Harper, and I feel like I made an honest effort at it. Sadly, it kind of went like this:[youtube http://youtu.be/NY4xE9rAY8k]
I can’t help it. I’m hooked.
The Washington Nationals are without a doubt one of the best stories of the year. And, of course, you can’t talk about the Nationals without inevitably turning to the direct youth infusion that is Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Probably the most amazing thing about these two guys is how well they seem to be handling the pressure at their relatively young ages.
Ever since we first celebrated Stras-mas in 2010, we knew we were in for something special. Bryce-giving has been almost as good. Through half a season his numbers have him in a rarified group of baseball players and already have stat-heads drooling over his promise. However, that initial part of the sentence, “through half a season,” should remind us that he’s not yet Micky Mantle.
If there’s one thing that really makes me believe that Bryce-giving could become the same annual holiday that Stras-mas appears possible to become, it’s this:[youtube http://youtu.be/JzbhjzsyvGk]
That question had foot-in-mouth disease written all over it. But instead of pulling a Humberto Quintero:
…Harper gave just about the perfect answer. Well played, young man.
When most people hear the word “diplomat,” they experience a faint sensation of cocktail parties and a life on the international jet-setting circuit. But if you ever wondered exactly what a diplomat does, this recent account of the negotiations surrounding a Chinese dissidents departure for the U.S. is nothing short of fascinating. However, I still think the best work done by America’s Foreign Service is its sports diplomacy programs. In China this meant building on the opportunity offered by Yao Ming and bringing over other NBA stars.
In Latin America these programs go under the name “baseball diplomacy.” It makes sense. Most MLB teams have at least a scout and sometimes an entire infrastructure in Latin American countries in order to seek out and recruit promising young talent. Why not build on those ties by using the baseball players as ambassadors of American good-will? I’m pretty sure there’s no better way to illustrate the American Dream than by sending guys who are actually living it.
The only problem is, the guy who is truly living the dream right at this very moment hails from the U.S. of A., not Latin America. Seriously, does it get any better than being Bryce Harper? The guy is nineteen years old, talented beyond belief and finds himself playing on a team that seems to have finally put the pieces together. Not bad for a guy who still can’t legally drink and who only recently became eligible to vote. Oh, and I forgot to mention this:
Yep, I’m pretty sure I’d take “being a ballplayer” over “being a diplomat” any day of the week.
If Kim Kardashian’s well-traveled yet consistently hypnotizing room-shaker just doesn’t calm that nasty case of televisionitis anymore, do not fear.
This is the 21st century. And armed with both an MLB.TV subscription AND an MLB Extra Innings package on Direct TV, you never have an excuse to sully your brain again (unless Las Vegas is involved).
There are three basic rules.
Watch Tony Campana. That’s right. I can’t help but tune into this wily sCrUB. He’s great television! Seriously, the dude looks like he should be delivering my newspaper every morning on a magenta, one-speed Huffy, not working a walk so he get on base to haunt opposing pitchers. Perhaps it’s because my imagined baseball skill-set is similar to that of Campana’s that I often find myself glued to his base-running. Or maybe it’ s just because the guy is a buzzing gnat in a game full of free-swinging giants.
WATCH the American League East. Doesn’t matter the team. Yankees. Drama. Red Sox. Drama. Orioles? DRAMA! Blue Jays? MORE DRAMA! Rays… oh the Rays… they are the KINGS of DRAMA. On any given night no one knows what the hell is gonna happen in this division. It’s a baseball fanatic’s wet — okay. Sorry, chuggin’ the verklempt there.
Bryce. Friggin’. Harper.
Watch this dude. Seriously.
I gotta tip my cap to Mike Rizzo and the Nats. Both of their high profile picks have delivered early in their careers, not with just talent, but with poise and brass balls. Watch Bryce Harper play a baseball game and tell me he doesn’t love it more than anything else on the planet, that he doesn’t live his every waking second for the opportunity to play the game we love so much to the best of his ability, AT ALL TIMES.
Isn’t that a great example of how life should be lived by us all?
Stay tuned to Bryce Harper. That kid is fantastic television.
And go ahead, hate me. I don’t care. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
April counts, yo! And here are some reasons why, after just one month into the season, I’m as jazzed as Mitt Romney during a temple garment clearance sale!
The Oriole Way
I am old enough to remember the Orioles being a staple of sound, fundamental baseball. And though those days seemed to disappear into Jeffrey Maier’s malicious mitt, it looks like they may be back! Let’s hope they are back to stay.
The AL Central
The Tigers are going to run away with the division you say? Not so fast. I know it’s only been one month, but the White Sox and Indians are right there with ’em, and unless the Tigers start putting a hurtin’ on the opposition instead of Jewish folks at a New York hotel, things could get interesting.
Love him or hate him, he makes things interesting. And oh how interesting things have been for the Boston Red Sox. I LOVE IT!!! The NBA may have all the drama, but when every day could be your last as a Red Sox, I start craving chicken, beer and video games.
The Pujols-less Cardinals
I’m not gonna bask in AP’s struggles, but I am gonna point out that the Cardinals have yet to lose a series (except that one against the Cubs where they were gifted a win by the umpiring crew). Onwards and upwards!
The AL West
Have you seen a Rangers game lately? I’ve been watching them almost every day! THAT’S how ya git’er done, folks. Meanwhile, the Halos are as nervous as Rick Santorum at a Santorum Party! As the Yankees and Red Sox learned before them, a bazillion dollars worth of free agent signings does NOT a champion make.
The Toronto Blue Jays
Not only do their uniforms look right again, but they’re also making the AL East insanely good! If only they could make Colby Rasmus less whiny.
The Youth Movement
I remember the excitement involved with Ken Griffey Jr. breaking into the league. Chipper Jones too. Now that Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have made their debuts, a similar buzz is in the baseball air. Throw in a slew of sophomores and third year players making headlines and baseball looks to be badass for a very long time.
The Year of the Pitcher enters its THIRD year and I couldn’t be more excited! As a self-confessed pitchers duel fiend, I live off serious heat, nasty breaking balls and backdoor sliders. We’ve already seen a perfect game and some no-hitter flirtations. But it’s the heroics of Joe Saunders, Kyle Lohse, Colby Lewis and the like that really get my gears greased.
And finally… the most titillating of them all so far…
ADAM. FREAKING. DUNN.
As a longtime resident of the south side of Chicago, the last thing I wanted to do was waste my summer days talking folks down off the ledge like I did last year. But since it appears Dunn sold his 2011 soul to Albert Pujols, I’m free to party my ass off at the fake B-Dubbs on 35th & Halsted. HOLLA!!! And buy me a drink!
Go ahead, hate me ‘cuz I’m easily titillated, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right!
Is the hype to be believed? Could the Nationals actually contend this year?
Could they actually contend? Hmm… does watching a pitcher’s duel strike me with uncontainable bonerjamz? HELL to the YES, my friend! There are 159 games left in the season, and the Nats could win ’em all!
Or not. Still, this is not your embarrassing Expo leftover Natinal squad of old; rather, this is a team with bona fide pitching, timely bats and a revered sage at the helm! Do you think Davey Johnson thinks they can contend? I’d bet my 1986 eight-ball wrapper collection he does.
And why not? Without Howard and Utley for a good stretch, the Phillies find themselves offensively challenged. The Braves, still salty from their epic fail of 2011, certainly don’t have all the answers. I’m not convinced the Marlins are really any better than they were before they decided to blind us with ugly and the Mets are the Mets (though don’t sleep on them either, as a .500 season is not entirely out of the question).
The truth is, the NL East isn’t as predictable as it used to be. And the addition of another wild card team makes it possible to hope a little longer.
But the number one reason why the Natinals have a legitimate shot at competing for a playoff spot this year is… The ONE.
Okay, wrong ONE. But believe me, to Stephen Strasburg, there is no spoon. Also taking the red pill this year are Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Edwin Jackson, Ross Detwiler and (presumably) John Lannan. That’s one helluva starting rotation+.
When Bryce Harper eventually finds his way into the rabbit hole, there will be even MORE reason to respect the potential of the Washington Nationals (not to mention a tomfoolery fodder spike for Deadspin).
Would I put big money on the Nats now? Maybe not. Would I put money on them to be a cellar dweller? Absolutely not. This team could find its identity and they could do it as soon as now. They could be the ’11 D’backs or the ’08 Rays.
Better yet, they could be the 2012 Nationals. (see what I did there?)
Hate me ‘cuz I love Stephen Strasburg as if he were one of my own, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
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