Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Bryce Harper Creates ‘Make Baseball Fun Again”

    Baseball and politics. Those aren’t two words you see next to each other often, but some MLB players have been bringing them together recently, although it might not be in the way that you think.

    Based off of presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper started a campaign with the slogan “Make Baseball Fun Again.”

    Talking to most sports fans you might find that a large majority of them prefer football and basketball, claiming that baseball is boring. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the fact is compared to the NFL, NBA and NHL, MLB games have a much lower “actual gameplay length.” While all of these sporting events will take around two to three hours to complete, there is much more down time in a baseball game.

    Now this is a complicated fix. The game is the game and that won’t change. Baseball is called the “National pastime” for our country, but times change and today’s viewer wants more action. So how do you change the game, without changing it?

    Enter Harper: A 23-year-old right fielder for the Washington Nationals. He has been hyped as The Next Big Thing since he was 16, and became the youngest player ever to unanimously win the MVP award.

    Before this season, ESPN the Magazine interviewed Harper and he called baseball a tired sport.

    “You can’t express yourself,” Harper said. “You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado…there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.”

    Harper is promoting the little things that can help the players have more fun, which in turn will be more fun for the fans. This includes bat-flips, stare downs, and celebrations.

    Something that could help with this is the sudden influx of young stars. Last season there were a slew of highly touted prospects making their major league debuts. Young guys like the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler made impressive debuts. Commissioner Rob Manfred certainly hopes that turning the reigns over to the new generation will be more relatable to younger fans.

    Joining Harper in this movement is Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig. The 25-year-old Cuban native has been one of the most polarizing figures in baseball since he entered the league four years ago. He has a rocket for an arm and a penchant for throwing out runners at third base, but also has had his fun with the media as he adjusts to life in a new country. He likes to showboat when he does well, and wears his heart on his sleeve when he fails, but this is exciting for fans. They want to see the full range of emotions that the players feel.

    A good example of this was a recent game between the Rangers and the Blue Jays. Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista made an illegal slide into Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor and, after they got in each others faces for a little, Odor punched Bautista in the face. This is not the kind of action the league wants to condone, but there is no denying that it is exciting to watch.

    Baseball will not change overnight, and the chances are it will never overtake the other major sports in terms of excitement and action, but these players should be applauded for caring about their sport, and job, enough to hold their peers accountable. But, hopefully they can make baseball fun again.

    Willy may be reached at
    [email protected]

    Leave a Comment
    More to Discover
    About the Contributor

    Comments (0)

    All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *