Weaning Ourselves From Bryce
It’s nice to be back in the Booth after a week of vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where the toughest decisions last week were “Margaritas or Daiquiris?”, “Shrimp or Scallops”, or “Beach or Pool?”.
Hard to believe, but the Valley Baseball League wraps up it’s regular season Saturday, with the playoffs starting Sunday. Both divisions are still up for grabs, so it should be an exciting final weekend in the VBL.
And it’s also hard to believe that NFL training camps have opened, including the Redskins camp in Richmond. The big story lines so far with Washington is the competition at the running back position, and, of course, the Skins’ new QB Alex Smith. I’m sure that die-hard fans have already sampled the burgundy & gold Kool-aid and have purchased playoff tickets (like we do every year, only to see the team go 7-9).
On to today’s topic. Fans of the underachieving 2018 Washington Nationals have had to prepare themselves this year for the likely departure of Bryce Harper, the face of the franchise, and one of the top players in the game. Harper is in line for a potential $300 million contract at the end of this season, as he most surely will dip his toe in the free-agency waters.
I’m kinda over Bryce Harper. His season has been one of feast or famine, as he seemingly either hits a mammoth home run or strikes out. His average has, for the most part, been under .220 this season, as a “Mighty Casey” scenario plays out game after game. Washington has some bright young stars on the horizon like the 19 year-old “phenom” Juan Soto, who is making a strong case for NL Rookie Of The Year. I think the Nats would (and will) be ok without Harper.
That being said, I would hate to be National’s GM Mike Rizzo. Fans have made an emotional investment in Harper during his time in Washington, as evidenced by Harper’s emotional victory in the recent Home Run Derby during All-Star week in DC.
But with the team on the verge of falling out of the playoff race and Tuesday’s trade deadline approaching, the Nats are in a no-man’s land between Buyers & Sellers. Do you get something now in return for Bryce Harper or do you make a desperate last-ditch run for a post-season spot, knowing that Bryce will probably be in another team’s uniform in 2019? So, you wanna be an MLB General Manager?
The window is closing fast on this season, a season in which the Nationals were expected to cruise through the NL East. But Rizzo knows that the upstart Braves and Phillies are new to a pennant race and may wilt in the August heat & the pressurized stretch run of September. He also knows that trading the popular Harper now might lead to a fan uprising.
Either way, we must wean ourselves from Bryce Harper, who will, in all likelihood, not be a Washington National after this tumultuous and often frustrating season.
With each Harper strikeout, that process becomes easier.
That’s it from the Booth! Until next time…GO NATS, GO HORNETS!