Baseball is classic. It has been around for decades and has brought people together throughout it's entire existence. It’s been deemed America’s past time and has coined songs like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” has provided snacks like hot dogs and cracker jacks, and has produced legends like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. It’s scattered among the dreams of little leaguers and planted in the hearts of lifelong fans. Baseball is classic—meaning, it will never go out of style. But just like a classy jazz song, the music can be interpreted differently over time.
Bryce Harper pointed to this idea with his recent comments that stirred up a lot of conversation and some controversy, as he called baseball a “tired sport.” It is true that baseball is viewed as a more mellow game, in terms of intensity, but that is not what Harper was alluding to.
It is not the game itself that is problematic for Harper. He is calling out, rather, the current culture surrounding it. He is calling out the culture for it's lack of emotion and lack of excitement.
Harper has been known for speaking out in the past and he’s not afraid of what people think. He is confident both on and off the field, and rightfully so. Although, he has received some backlash, I commend him for his honest expression and his recent comments were completely warranted.
Baseball will always be a classic and a favorite—an amazing game for various reasons. But Harper is right. The culture has slightly shifted and players like him are the ones that bring the timeless sport to life. They make the game electrifying. They wake the sport up, even if it is “tired.”
In fact, the only way that baseball can be seen as passionate, thrilling, and fun, is through the players that make the game what it is. Harper is an excellent player and an excellent voice for the game. He strikes a nerve in the hearts of those that share the passion that he’s carried his entire life—the game of baseball. So is a strong comment about the culture of today’s baseball out of line? Do we tell Harper to take a seat and just play ball? Not on my watch. Let him talk. Let him strike a nerve. Let him wake up baseball.