"There Goes The Best Hitter That Ever Was"
That's what Ted Williams wanted everyone to say about him. Problem was, Williams was one of those guys who became more appreciated after his career ended. During his career, he ran into all sorts of problems with the media, some self-inflicted, others unfair. Clearly, he wasn't as bad a guy as some of the "knights of the keyboard" (his sarcastic moniker for Boston sportswriters) made him out to be.
Today, there's a AA player in the Nats' farm system about whom much has been written, Bryce Harper. Problem is, the negative reports that we hear about Harper aren't nearly as subjective as the ones that the fans heard about Williams back in the day. The reason -- streaming video, YouTube, and the internet. Harper might be a transcending talent, but he also has a transcending temper and ego. Together, they are a toxic combination, sure to turn opponents and umpires against him. Take a look at this video clip from YouTube about a recent (with the past few days) ejection of Harper to see what I am talking about.
Right now, Harper is both a super talent and his own worst enemy. Part of the issue is that he's only 18 years old, and part of it is that he's been so hyped that he believes a lot of it (of course, if you can deliver, the saying goes, "it ain't bragging."). The world has to be patient with Bryce Harper, for sure, but the Nats need to figure out a way to reach him, coach him better, and turn him into a more solid professional. If they succeed, they could have an achiever for the ages. If they fail, they'll have a head case who becomes more trouble than he is worth.