Monday, February 21, 2011

The Bryce Harper Show

The baseball world surrounding Our Washington Nationals came to a complete stop this afternoon when The Bryce Harper Show commenced on the practice fields at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida. It didn't matter that Chien-Ming Wang, Jordan Zimmermann nor Drew Storen threw bullpen sessions today. It didn't matter that many of Washington's position players were getting in their final "Unofficial" workout before the beginning of Full Camp.

The only thing that truly mattered was an 18 Year Old making his first appearance in Big League Camp and stealing the show by just taking batting practice. You've got to give Bryce Harper great credit for gumption and moxie. Not much seems to phase the young man--not even one of the greatest scrums in autograph history that took place as he walked off Field Number 1 at the conclusion of his workout this afternoon.

Walking right into the Lion's Den of about 50 FRANTIC FANS, all hell nearly broke loose in the free zone where fans can co-mingle with players and coaches just off the playing field.  Harper stood right there in the middle as fans yelled, jostled, pushed and shoved their way towards him.  The respected autograph lineup of fans that has always been honored for Stephen Strasburg and Pudge Rodriguez completely broke down.

Standing next to Dave Sheinin of The Washington Post, Sohna says to Dave: "How are they going to get him out of that ever expanding cocoon?

Sheinin coming back with The Quote Of The Day: "I guess they are going to have to let him sign for a while. They have no other choice now."

No, they didn't.  And Harper signed until an opening came which allowed P.R. Staff to move Bryce safely from the practice facility.

When the respect for the autograph line eroded, many of the dealers on hand looking for multiple items signed for profit--took over--pushing many kids and fans out of the way. At one point, a father yelled out: "Let the kids through, please!!"

He was basically ignored too.

Too bad, because the ending to the day left a sour taste over a long awaited spring debut. When Bryce Harper warmed up, the media and fans followed. When he situated himself in right field on Field Number 4 to shag flies for his first batting practice, the posses followed him there.  When "Group 2" was announced to hit, Harper jogged in to take his cuts.

Everybody watched--as did just about the entire front office staff of Our Washington Nationals. How many players actually shake hands with their General Manager before taking their first swings of spring in the cage?  Harper did, and Mike Rizzo did the honors.

For four rounds, Bryce took 40 to 45 swings total--four of which found a baseball off his bat clearing the right field fence for home runs--one landing in a water pond.

Bryce Harper looked relaxed. He joked with fellow spring invitee Chris Marrero throughout his time on the fields. It appeared, the Number 1 Overall Pick in the 2010 Entry Draft just wanted to be like any other player. But as he found out as this day progressed--that might not be possible right now because all eyes are on him.

The Bryce Harper Show premiered today at The Space Coast Stadium Practice Fields and the viewership ratings were sky high.  So high that when The Goodyear Blimp actually floated bye Sohna joked how it must have flown through to honor the occasion as well.

Yeah, that really happened--totally by chance.

The Goodyear Blimp made an appearance during Harper's Premiere Show.

A Good Omen.


You couldn't have written a better script.

All Photos & Video Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved


Unknown said...

Was he using one of his "Bible Bats" with "Luke 1:37" on it or did they make him switch to a bat with just his name on it?

Screech's Best Friend said...

BHH: In all our pictures of his black bats taken today no inscriptions are shown on any of them--not even his name.

Unknown said...

There has to be some markings on the end of the bat. I can see it in the video but unable to read what it says. So far all the pictures from today show the back of the bats.

Thanks tho!

Screech's Best Friend said...

BHH: I've reached out to the team to inquire about your question. If they respond with an answer, I will post it up here. Thanks.