There are the Washington Nationals and then there is Bryce Harper. Half the stories about him are about how he needs to be more like Anthony Rendon and the other half on how he needs to have a great season and prove he's a star. The funny thing about all this is it is the media that has made Harper a star. Sure he's the one that had the immense talent at the early age that got him noticed but he didn't put himself on the SI cover or write the headline that said he's baseball's LeBron. Bryce Harper hasn't shied away from the spotlight and seems to welcome it, but it's impossible for an individual to make themselves a star. All it takes for Bryce Harper to be more like Anthony Rendon is the media to start giving equal attention to both.
That is only half of it and the rest could be all about stardom in America. TV is littered with people with no talent whatsoever who are stars for no other reason than that people pay attention to them. I guess we could call that the culture of pop. Bryce Harper may have yet to have the MVP level season people expect from him but to argue he needs it to be a star is to ignore what it means to be a star in modern America. Bryce Harper doesn't need an MVP season he just needs 19 kids, five wives, or a 90 day fiance.
Here is ESPN talking to Bryce Harper about expectations and the need to stay healthy. Here is the thing about the expectations on the Nationals. Whether Bryce Harper, Matt Williams, or anyone else said anything doesn't matter. When a team that won 96 games the previous season goes out and signs the biggest free agent things become World Series or bust. The Dodgers are in the same place as the Nationals and the Cardinals would be two if they hadn't just won a World Series not too long ago. There are going to be many good teams this season and when the playoffs roll around any one of them could win the World Series. The difference between the Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals and whoever else ends up being good this season isn't so great as to make anyone of them a lock for anything.
Of possible good teams in the NL the Phillies won't be one of them as they lost their first exhibition game to a NCAA division II team.--Chase Hughes, CSNWashington.com. While this is hilarious and nothing will ruin the comedy value of this the box score for the Phillies is all guys that have no business on a major league club but even a team of players that can't crack a bad major league roster shouldn't lose to a NCAA division II team.
I apologize for the brief Bryce Harper interlude. Now back to Bryce with this report from Mark Zuckerman quoting Harper as saying he'd like to be a lifelong National. I saw the Giancarlo Stanton contact too and if I were a talented young baseball player with no ceiling I'd be saying I want to stay in one place forever too.
One of the more interesting non-roster invitees for the Washington Nationals this spring is Dan Uggla and Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post details how his recent decline in production could be because he was out of balance, literally. It is a fascinating read and I've said on multiple occasions I think Dan Uggla will make this team. He can hit for power and is willing to take a walk. Two things Kevin Frandsen can't and won't do and they are both just as defensively limited and really the 2014 Nats let Scott Hairston play the entire season as nothing more than a pinch hitter against left handed pitching.
And because we're always interested in reading about former Nationals here is Susan Slusser's profile of Tyler Clippard.
Until tomorrow Natstown...