Found March 08, 2012 on Sportaholics Anonymous:
Bryce Harper plays professional baseball for the Washington Nationals organization.

Just in case you've been living on Mars.

In a cave.

Under a rock.

With your fingers in your ears.

(Guess the pop culture reference in the Comments section)

Bryce Harper is in his first Spring Training as a professional baseball player, and hasn't even played a regular season game in the Major Leagues.  And yet, his every move is scrutinized as if he's the greatest thing to happen to the sport of baseball since the end of the "Dead Ball" era.  I've seen recaps of several of the Washington Nationals games from this Spring Training that only include two pieces of information: the final score, and Bryce Harper's stats.

The coverage has gotten so out of hand that one of my co-workers said earlier in the week, he saw Harper's performance in a particular game described as "Harper Comes Through In The Clutch."  My co-worker assumed the story was describing a game-winning hit, when in actuality the hit in question was a single that didn't even score a run.

What really knuckles my curve about this media saturation is that it furthers the national view of the Washington Nationals, that the team has only two players on the entire roster:

  1. Bryce Harper, OF: 0 Major League Seasons, 0 Major League Games.  
  2. Stephen Strasburg, SP: 2 Major League Seasons, 17 Major League Games. 

I'm glad these two players have increased the national profile of my favorite baseball team.  But it has come at the cost of the other players on the team.  Last year, the Nationals had a good team that finished strong at 80-81, in a rare 161 game season.  And they had a lot of good players, worthy of their own spotlight:

  • Ryan Zimmerman, 3B: The cornerstone of the franchise.  Zimmerman, a former All-Star and Gold Glove winner, still managed to hit .289 with 12 HRs and 49 RBI in only 101 games last year.  His 6 year, $100 million contract extension was the most important transaction of the offseason for the Washington Nationals.  
  • Jordan Zimmermann, SP: Best Nationals starting pitcher last year, hands down.  Began the season with All-Star caliber numbers and finished with the tenth best ERA in the National League, all during his first season back from Tommy John surgery.  Deserves to be the Opening Day Starter.  
  • Tyler Clippard, RP: Washington's lone representative at last year's All-Star game.  Arguably the second best set-up man in his division, the National League, and the Majors (Jonny Venters, Atlanta Braves).
  • Drew Storen, RP: Nationals closer who finished the season with 43 saves and 0.98 K/IP, yet was snubbed from the All-Star team.  He teamed with Clippard to form a fearsome 1-2 punch in the back end of the Nationals bullpen.  Alas, the two of them had to settle for second best tandem in their division, the NL and all of MLB (Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves).  
  • Michael Morse, IF/OF: Never given 500 At Bats in a season by the Seattle Mariners, Morse exploded last year as an everyday player after 1B Adam Laroche was injured, finishing with 31 HRs, 95 RBI and a .303 AVG in 522 ABs.  Yet another player who should have made last year's All-Star team.  
  • Danny Espinosa, 2B: Runner-up in the NL Rookie Of The Year voting.  A dangerous hitter, Espinosa is a fantastic fielder with the range and arm of a shortstop.   
  • Wilson Ramos, C: Acquired in what is probably the team's best trade since the franchise moved from Montreal.  Two years ago, the Nats received Ramos, a minor leaguer at the time, from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for All-Star closer Matt Capps.  Ramos is now the Nationals starting catcher; Capps is now the Twins set-up man.  

Perhaps the media should begin paying attention to these players instead of Bryce Harper.  
Unless they're only interested in Spring Training.  

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