Will Bryce Harper Seizing Leadership Role Inspire Nationals Teammates?
"Just got our (butts) kicked for two games," Harper said. "It's something you don't want to happen, but you've got to have heart. That's the biggest thing right now. You've got to have heart right now..."
But Harper didn't stop there. He went on to say how the Nationals weren't out of it and they could still win the division:
"We play the Braves nine (more) games. This (expletive) ain't over. I really don't think it's over. So we've just got to keep going, keep grinding and turn into the family that we were last year."
Harper was very quotable following the loss. One day, when it's his team, others will listen. However, with veterans like Adam LaRoche, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, Harper's words just might go in through one ear and right out the other.
Some might ask if Harper's words will make a difference.
Bryce Harper speaks up. "Everybody’s got to want it, starting with the manager on down – everybody." http://t.co/kOkANylzrN— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) July 31, 2013
When it comes to criticizing your team to reporters, the proper thing to do is to have a closed-door meeting with the team. At least that's what a veteran leader would do.
There were so many things wrong with the situation.
First, why hasn't LaRoche, Zimmerman or Werth spoken up to say anything to the team as a whole? That's their job.
Harper likely felt frustrated because nothing was being said and took to the mic himself.
However, the veterans likely weren't too pleased with that approach, instead wishing he would have said something to them.
Then again, should Harper be the one to state the obvious to the leaders of the team?
Maybe it should have been manager Davey Johnson. After all, the Nationals are 4-9 since the All-Star break and have only won six of their last 20 games.
Surely someone as experienced as Johnson would have said something.
What effects will Bryce Harper's words have?
While I applaud Harper's efforts, it's likely not going to make a difference this year.
The Nationals have played uninspiring baseball all year. And it all started in the April series with the Atlanta Braves, when they were swept.
They recovered a little and were looking decent at 20-15 on May 10.
From there, it got horrible, as one month later the Nationals were under .500 at 31-32.
Uninspired baseball would be a great way to describe this season for the Nationals.
Maybe it's the injuries to Harper and Werth, or the struggles on the pitching staff.
For some reason, Washington hasn't been able to get it together this year and no speech is going to fix that.
Harper will be the leader of the Nationals...eventually. For now, he's still a young kid on the team who has to bide his time.
That may stink in his mind, but that's the way an MLB clubhouse has always operated.
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