Bryce Harper, 19 year old Washington Nationals outfielder and former #1 overall draft pick, is a hyped up recruit that appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 16 (cover featured below). A former catcher with a petulant attitude that rivals his immense ability and raw power, Harper earned his GE after his Sophomore year of High School to become eligible for the June 2010 Amateur Baseball Draft. To begin his pro career as early as possible, he enrolled at a Junior College called College of Southern Nevada to play as a 17-year old. He enrolled there because the National Junior College Athletic Association uses wooden bats like the professionals and Harper wanted to get acclimated to the change from aluminum. After 31 HR, 98 RBI’s and a .443 batting average in just 66 games, Harper was selected first overall by the Nationals. Nationals fans anxiously awaited his arrival to the big leagues to provide a much needed boost to the perennial last place ball club. He was in Major League camp for a while this spring but eventually was sent down to AAA for a little more seasoning (and to delay his pro-experience clock so the Nationals had control of his rights for an additional season).
Finally, Saturday night, he was up at the plate for his 3rd career at bat in his first game. He had been summoned from Triple-A Syracuse earlier in the weekend and had just flown across the country to make it in time for the game. He had been retired his first 2 times at the plate and was determined to record his first hit in “The Show”.
Fast Forward to the 2:12 mark for the full count pitch….
After a 6 pitch battle to run the count full, the seventh pitch of the At-Bat came from Dodgers Pitcher Chad Billingsly. On cue, several fans in the second row stood up simultaneously to feign “the wave” and moon the camera. Amazingly, they hadn’t been mooning the camera on any previous pitches for this at-bat or Harper’s previous ABs, but they had chosen the “right” pick to pull their juvenille (yet somewhat hilarious) stunt.
Footage from Harper’s first career hit has been essentially ruined, as he scorched a lined-shot over Center Fielder Matt Kemp’s head off the base of the wall for an easy double. Between first and sec0nd base, Harper intentionally flipped off his own helmet to reveal his flashy mohawk to all the world, showing that he possesses the same maturity level as the fans in the second row. Regardless, footage from his hit will be shown from the 3rd base line view primarily, as footage from the Center Field camera has been effectively tarnished.