Bryce Harper was pretty clear in making his latest bold statement.
He told ESPN The Magazine,
Baseball's tired. It's a tired sport, because you can't express yourself. You can't do what people in other sports do.
The Washington Nationals star and reigning National League MVP wasn't exactly reaffirming the most cynical opinion some people have of baseball these days -- that it's outdated, boring and dying -- but he did capture some of what makes baseball an anomaly among today's popular sports.
He told Tim Keown,
I'm not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it's the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that's Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig -- there's so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.
He makes a great point, if we're honest here. Baseball abides by a number of rules that are unwritten yet also expected to be treated as sacred.
You can celebrate, for instance, but not too much. Excessive celebration is a general taboo, and that fact just does not fit within sports' landscape in the modern era, at least not to Bryce.
If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I'm going to go, 'Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.' That's what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players -- Steph Curry, LeBron James. It's exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton -- I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It's that flair. The dramatic.
Hey, I can't say he's wrong. At the very least, his honesty about a game he plays for a living should be celebrated (but not too much, though).