Already known as brash, cocky and immature, Bryce Harper lived up to those labels and then some Monday night when he blasted his 14th home run of the season for the Hagerstown Suns, a Washington Nationals' Single-A affiliate. After crushing a pitch from opposing hurler Zach Neal, Harper stayed at home plate for a few seconds to watch the baseball before taking a slow trot around the bases. Then, as he rounded third base, the 18-year-old blew a kiss in Neal's direction.
It certainly seems like Bryce's antics have taken taunting to a level rarely seen in professional baseball, let alone low A-ball. They have already drawn a variety of opinions from around the sport.
Hall-of-famer Mike Schmidt, for example, thinks the youngster needs policing.
"The competition on the field is gonna have to figure out a way to police this young man, if indeed his manager won't, the game will end up taking care of him."
Yahoo's Jeff Passan, on the other hand, thinks Harper's shenanigans could be just what baseball needs.
"Baseball’s greatest villain is an 18-year-old minor leaguer with a heinous mustache, an equally off-putting mullet and the scent of someone who emptied a bottle of Eau du Arrogance all over himself.
And you know what? He’s exactly what the sport needs."
As far as I'm concerned, any prospect pegged as a major league star should treat his Single-A accomplishments with a yawn. Showing up a minor league pitcher like that is - for lack of a better term - bush league.