Off-Base Percentage: Harper Is Not Clowning Around

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Off-Base Percentage is a weekly post about the lighter side of sports, mainly baseball. Whether it occurs on the field, in the locker room, or in the media, if it is a little ‘off-base’ then it is fair game. If you are looking for analysis of a player, team, or sport it won’t be found in this post. This is for the sports fan that wants to take a step back and look at sports from a ‘different’ angle. Enjoy.

Not only is Bryce Harper impressive on the field and in the batters box, he also deals with reporters with great skill. During the Nationals’ series with the Toronto Blue Jays the nineteen-year old was asked by a reporter from Toronto if he would be taking advantage of Canada’s lower drinking age while he was staying in the city.

Before I share his response, which I am sure most of you have already seen on Twitter or on T-shirts, I want to point out how unprofessional of a question that was to ask. The reporter may have been making a joke, but all that question could lean towards was ruining a bright future for a young star. That question had no validity to reporting about the game itself or getting Harper’s thoughts on him and his teammates’ play thus far this season. Also, had he been a good reporter and done some research on Bryce himself he would have known that Harper is Mormon. Mormons do not drink alcohol. So why ask it unless you want to cause trouble? Maybe that is what the reporter was going for, though.

Okay, back to Harper’s response. When he was blindsided with the reporter’s alcohol related question he responded simply with, “I’m not answering that. That’s a clown question, bro.” What a great response to get from a teenager in the big leagues. He could have lashed out and defended his beliefs. He could have said something that he would have regretted. But no, he went with a quick answer that subtly showed how dumb the question was while still getting his point across. He basically said, in his own words, ‘let’s just talk about baseball.’ The Nationals front office should be proud of Harper’s dedication to winning and continuing to be a positive personality in the clubhouse. I am sure he didn’t realize this when he was answering it, but the phrase, “that’s a clown question, bro,” caught on in the world of Twitter right away and was trending in minutes. Soon after that, shirts were being printed with the D.C. sensation’s new catch phrase.

It is quite refreshing to see such a young talent handle himself with maturity. Look at Justin Blackmon. He hasn’t played a down in the NFL and is already in trouble with the law after getting a DUI. The same thing goes on outside of sports with celebrities like Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus. The young fame seems to get to more stars than not. Bryce Harper, in his first couple months of Major League Baseball, is shaping up to be a good role model for young baseball players. I just hope that ESPN doesn’t start putting more pressure on him than he can handle.

Did Bryce Harper handle himself well? Has he lived up to the hype? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander. (No clown questions.)

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