Bryce Harper hit 3 homers in his rehab game, is basically baseball's William Wallace
Bryce Harper's Wikipedia page should read like a William Wallace tall tale. He might not be seven feet tall or shoot bolts of lightning from his arse, but the things the kid does to baseballs ...
Have you heard he went 4-for-5 with three homers in his Saturday rehab start for Double-A Harrisburg?
Did you hear about the time he hit a ball 570 feet when he was only 16?
Have you seen the YouTube video of him putting a ball into the rafters of Tropicana Field while he was in high school?
Did you see him take first base after getting plunked by Cole Hamels and then steal home a few batters later?
Those are clown questions, bro. We've all heard the lore and we've guzzled the Kool-Aid. To say that Bryce Harper is good for baseball would be an insult to his greater contributions to humanity and popular culture. After sitting out two months of the 2014 season following successful surgery to repair a ligament in his thumb, Harper is primed to make his triumphant return to the Nationals lineup, maybe as soon as Monday night.
In advance of Harper's comeback, here are a bunch of reasons you should be giddy that he's about to be back in a Major League batter's box.
The Youth Movement. Your P.O.D. GIF goes *here* because 2014 is the Year of the Rookie. Masahiro Tanaka is making hitters look foolish for the Yankees. George Springer of the Astros is launching balls of the catwalk. Jose Abreu leads the league in homers, has four multi-HR games and is drawing comparisons to Thor. Blink and you'll miss Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton. Brock Holt is batting .323 and flashing the leather for the Red Sox. Gregory Polanco started his career off with an 11-game hitting streak for the Pirates. Oscar Taveras homered in his first game for the Cardinals. And we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention Xander Bogaerts, Chris Owings, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Roenis Elias and the contributions they've made to their clubs in their first official MLB seasons.
Where does Harper fit in? Oh, just that he's still younger than ALL. OF. THEM. Harper is barely old enough to buy a beer (not that he would) and he's already logged 1.159 years of service time, won Rookie of the Year, and earned a spot on two All-Star teams. When the rest of us were 21 we were lucky if we paused PlayStation long enough to make it to our Econ class.
The Swag (or whatever the kids say, now). The hair. The eye black. The beard. The cleats. The T-shirts. Harper carries himself with a distict sense of style, even if that style is lost on older generations of Americans who have never had the pleasure of hearing the bass drop. And no one-and I do mean no one-in the history of America's pastime has rocked a puka shell necklace harder than Harper.
The Cut4-ness. He's no Munenori Kawasaki, but Harper has a penchant for finding the intersection of baseball and "weird Internet" that directly translates to this particular section of the worldwide web. Whether he's helpling old ladies shop for groceries or rocking a UFC title belt, the guy simply seems to "get it."
The NL East Race. Only 5.5 games separate the first and last plast teams in the National League East. Atop the division sit the Braves and Harper's Nationals, both at 41-38. Though the Nats are only 3-7 against Atlanta this year, the ball clubs play each other nine more times before the season wraps up and Harper will look to even that series record. As a result, September baseball in the NL East is going to be must-watch Major League action.