Bryce Harper makes up T-shirts for teammates, refuses to give up on 2013

  • David Whitlock

He may only be 20 years old, but reigning National League Rookie of the Year OF Bryce Harper may already be the locker room leader of the disappointing Washington Nationals.  After being thumped by the Detroit Tigers in a two-game series (combined score 16-2), Harper appears to have had enough, and, according to Washington Post columnist Adam Kilgore, delivered a fiery speech in the locker room following Wednesday night’s loss to the Tigers 11-1:

Afterward, he stood at his locker and called for the Nationals to play harder and with more cohesion, aiming his fiery message not only at teammates but also at Manager Davey Johnson and the first-place Atlanta Braves.

“We got our [butts] kicked for two games,” Harper said. “That’s something you don’t want to have happen. But you got to have heart. That’s the biggest thing right now. You got to play with heart. You got to play as a family. Everybody’s got to want it, starting with the manager on down – everybody. Everybody wants to win this and keep going.

“We need to get going and play better, hit better, have better ABs in certain situations and pitch better also. It’s just something we need to do. We play the Braves nine games. This [expletive] ain’t over. I really don’t think it’s over. We just got to keep going, keep grinding and turn into the family that we were last year.”

Harper had left Wednesday’s game with a hip spasm, which might have given him the opportunity to sit back and simply observe his team fall apart.  Or just made him more angry, whichever works.

And his words don’t appear to just be an “in the moment” reaction.  When his teammates showed up for Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, they had T-shirts courtesy of Harper waiting for them (details courtesy of Kilgore via Twitter):

Inspiriational for sure, but not quite original as  it is borrowed from Dwayne Wade during the World Champion Miami Heat’s final two games won over the San Antonio Spurs.

According to an interview on MLB Network Radio (via FederalBaseball.com), Nationals manager Davey Johnson has noticed and appreciated the youngster’s passion and enthusiasm for the game:

“The thing about Bryce,” Johnson said, “… some of my key players are a little more passive — not as aggressive on the field as I’d like — and I think he gives them that energy, because, if anything, he goes overboard with energy. And so, he was missed. Not just what he does with the bat, but just his way and approach to [playing] the game of baseball.”

All that is great, but the bad news is that the Nationals have really nose-dived in the past couple of weeks, and the NL East leading Atlanta Braves have been red hot.  That combination has the Braves with an 11.5 game lead over the 2nd place Nationals, who are 4 games simply below the .500 mark.

Bryce Harper is emerging as Nationals leader in the clubhouse Credit: US Presswire

Bryce Harper is emerging as Nationals leader in the clubhouse
Credit: US Presswire

No doubt the Nationals are going to need to catch fire quickly, if they are to do so, this attitude and leadership from Harper may be the starting point.  He needs to stay healthy down the stretch though, something he hasn’t been able to do.

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About The Author

David Whitlock

David Whitlock - manager

David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

2 Responses to Bryce Harper makes up T-shirts for teammates, refuses to give up on 2013

  • Doesn’t anyone remember his flagrant crotch grab towards the pitcher after striking out in the 9th against the Cards in last years playoffs? Very immature and low class. This guys got a lot of dues to pay before anyone anoints him a leader. Hes a classless punk.

  • as Micheal said, I am
    blown away that you able to get paid $7233 in four weeks on the computer. have
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