Baseball is supposed to be a fun sport. Scratch that – all sports are supposed to be fun sports. However, for some reason, when it comes to America’s pastime, the game continues to try to hold on to the tired traditions of the past more than any of the four major sports in our country. In the NBA, NFL, NHL and UFC, expressing yourself isn’t just celebrated, it’s encouraged. That hasn’t been the case in Major League Baseball, where things like bat flips, stare-downs, fist pumping and anything nontraditional is usually frowned upon by most.
Enter the National League’s reigning MVP Bryce Harper.
In a lengthy piece on ESPN written by Tim Keown, Harper keeps it 100 about just how he feels about baseball’s “unwritten rules” and how it’s time to let old habits die hard.
“Baseball’s tired,” he says. “It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig — there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.
“Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling — hoorah … if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot … I mean — sorry.”
Harper continues on, and makes his comments even more direct citing stars from other professional sports leagues as examples.
“If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I’m going to go, ‘Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.’ That’s what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players — Steph Curry, LeBron James. It’s exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton — I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It’s that flair. The dramatic.”
At the risk of sounding nontraditional, a-fucking-men Bryce Harper. Baseball, at its root, is probably one of the most fun games to play, but the reason it has lagged behind in popularity in comparison to the NFL and the NBA is because of things like this. The Toronto Blue Jays didn’t win the World Series, but do you know what everyone remembers about the playoffs? Jose Bautista’s bad-ass bat flip after scorching a game-clinching go-ahead three-run home run in the bottom of the 7th.
Be more like Bryce, baseball. Be like Bryce.
Photo Credit: Getty