PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The NBA has LeBron James and Stephen Curry. The NFL has Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers.
The respective sports encourage the flashy, eccentric — and at times cocky — superstar who transcends the sport.
Bryce Harper wants to take on that role for Major League Baseball, but worries the sport won’t let him.
“Baseball’s tired,” Harper told ESPN The Magazine. “It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. 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 or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig — there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.
“Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling — hoorah … if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot … I mean — sorry.”
Harper, the reigning National League MVP, loves the competition and wishes players could express that on the field or court, like the star athletes do in pro football and pro basketball.
“If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I’m going to go, ‘Yeah, you got me. Good for you,” Harper said to ESPN The Magazine. “Hopefully I get you next time.’ That’s what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players — Steph Curry, LeBron James. It’s exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton — I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It’s that flair. The dramatic.”