Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Start off your day with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.
We start off today’s Daily with a very interesting piece about Bryce Harper from Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post. As Boswell notes, Harper has drawn a lot of attention this spring for his abundance of confidence––a confidence that has drawn criticism because it has led to several comments from Harper that have come off as vain to some.
Ever since the Nationals drafted Harper five years ago, the young outfielder has had a habit of talking himself into controversies with the media, with teammates and even with Nationals management. From when he blew a kiss at an opposing pitcher after hitting a homer in the minors years ago, to asking “Where’s my ring?” earlier this spring, Harper’s fiery personality always seems to add fuel to an anti-Harper fire that burns brighter every day in the eyes of those who are not related to the Nationals organization.
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In reality, though, Harper’s comments are just a part of who he is and what makes him get. As Boswell explains in the article, the Nationals don’t want Harper to change because it’s that same quality that draws the ire of other teams and their fans that makes Harper the world-class talent that he is. Granted, Harper still has much to prove, and 2015 will be a critical year to cement his standing in the sport. But until then, what’s wrong with Harper showing confidence? Nothing.
He may be bugging some people with promises of greatness and bringing a World Series trophy back to D.C. without having played a full big league season himself yet. But in the end, if Harper delivers on his promises, who really cares what people think of him? Whether or not he lives up to his monumental expectations remains to be seen. But for now, let Harper be Harper.
Also in today’s Daily, the Post’s Chelsea Janes explains the dilemma the Nationals have in the leadoff spot entering the regular season. With Denard Span out for at least the first month the season, the Nationals will have a hard time finding someone to replace him in the leadoff spot.
As Janes notes, the team has several options for the leadoff spot, but many of them are injured as well. We’ll continue to monitor the Nationals’ injury situation and the competition for the open leadoff spot as Spring Training rolls on this week. For now, checkout these great articles below:
‘This is who Harp is’
Get accustomed to Harper elaborating on his comments, not walking them back. This past week, he said he stands by his quips — just good-natured, confident fun — in a Sports Illustrated story. He shared the cover with $210 million free agent Max Scherzer, who, to Harper, looks like the perfect World Series ring bearer.
In his seventh year in the national public eye, in his fourth season in the big leagues and past his 22nd birthday, Harper isn’t going to change and shouldn’t. Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty nails it when he says, “The individual makes the player. Your personality is how you play. So, you have to be yourself.”
After a strong finish in 2014, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is expecting big things as he starts the season leaner than last year and moves to right field. Read full article here.
Leading off for the Nats is … a problem
Given the depth of the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation and a returning quorum from last season’s 96-win lineup, one of the few questions powerful enough to undercut expectations this season was whether the reigning National League East champions could stay healthy.
It was always a question of when, not if. In the course of seven relentless months, injuries affect all teams. But the Nationals will have to deal with theirs immediately, when their first batter steps to home plate in the first inning April 6.
That batter should be Denard Span, who led off 145 games for Washington last season and tied for the National League lead with 184 hits. Span had right core muscle surgery earlier this month and is out until early May by the most optimistic of estimates — his. Read full article here.