Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 2/8/12

Bryce Harper may be only 19 years old and have enormous baseball potential, but he is not exactly the most lovable character. Harper marches to the beat of his own drum and doesn’t seem to care what anyone thinks about it. That confidence likely has contributed to his success on the baseball field, but it also tends to irritate the people around him. Harper has struggled in the minors and would need to put in a ton of work to make the Nationals team this spring. If and when he does become a superstar athlete, however, he wants to live his life like Joe Namath.

“I’m going to be my own person,” Harper said in an interview with MLB.com. “There are a lot of professional athletes back in the old days that did what they wanted to do. That’s how I’m going to be. I’m going to prove myself on the field, so I can be that kind of guy off the field.

“I’m not a clown off the field. I just say things … I speak my mind and I think that’s good. If I speak my mind and people know the real me, then they are going to like me more. I’m not a liar. I say things I want to say. That’s how it is, I guess.

“A football player I can name is Joe Namath. … He had that city life and everything like that, but he was one of the best quarterbacks to play the game. I can’t say I’m like Joe Namath. … He went out, he played, but he had fun. He had a night life, he had his own place, I think it was called Bachelors III. He had his own thing that he wanted to do. … He was in the style, he did all those commercials, things like that. He loved it. I think that’s huge. That’s one side of me that I like. I’m not your typical, ‘Hey, I’m going to be Johnny Good.’ You are a baseball player. … I’m going to have fun off the field, too.”

Translation: Harper plans to make headlines both on and off the field. His comments are honest and fairly harmless, but they reflect the fact that he is still only a kid. He’s going to gel his hair like a tool bag and blow kisses to opposing pitchers whenever the mood strikes him. He may someday become the face of the Nationals franchise, but Harper is essentially admitting he’s going to a headache. On top of that, he’s going to wake up one day and be a 60-something-year-old man asking sideline reporters for a kiss.

H/T Hardball Talk

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