The legend of Bryce Harper is growing.
As if it wasn't enough that he hit .270 with 22 home runs, 59 RBI and 18 stolen bases as a 19-year-old rookie, or that he started the 2013 season with two home runs on Opening Day, he now has his own "flu game" to add an already impressive young career.
Bryce Harper had his own "flu game" last night. After missing Monday night against the Marlins with the flu, Harper was given IV fluids on Tuesday and ended up going 4-for-5. Wasn't quite the epic proportions of Michael Jordan's flu game, but it's still impressive.
"I didn't feel very good at all. I was bent over at home plate multiple times," said Harper, who threw up in the second inning.
"Flu games" have been in the news quite a bit of late. Tim Grover, Michael Jordan's trainer, told ESPN that Jordan's famous flu game from the 1997 NBA Finals was actually a bout of food poisoning that may have been the result of some foul play after a pizza was delivered to his hotel room.
Yikes. It was still one heck of a performance, no matter what caused the illness.
And, of course, who could forget about Leslie Knope's amazing Harvest Festival speech to the Pawnee Chamber of Commerce while deathly ill with the flu?
But let's not compare Harper's effort with the flu to the performances of Jordan or Knope. After all, Jordan's came in the NBA Finals and Knope is, well, not real.
Still, the fact that he could go 4-for-5 with a double, RBI and run scored after throwing up in the second inning is unbelievably impressive. When I have the flu, I barely have the strength or willpower to reach for the remote and change the channel, let alone swing a baseball bat.
But this kid, this 20-year-old prodigy, just keeps on amazing. For the season, he's hitting .364 with five home runs, 11 RBI and a stolen base. We may be just 15 games into the season, but Harper is playing like one of baseball's top players.
Opposing pitchers can't stop him. Illness can't stop him. What can stop him?
The real test for Harper will be maintaining this level of production throughout the year. He's never played a full MLB season, and for as talented as he is, he still has a lot of developing to do as an athlete and baseball player.
No one would fault him for hitting a sophomore slump, in other words.
So far, however, that slump hasn't hit. Harper may only be 20, but the legend is already taking shape.
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