Our good friend and colleague, Jeff Fletcher, has written a wonderful piece for AOL Fanhouse on Bryce Harper, the 17-year old who dropped out of high school in Las Vegas, took the GED and enrolled in a community college to prepare for the June draft.
There’s even a part about the unwritten rules, that comes near the end of the story.
Another issue Harper will need to address this year is gaining some maturity. (College of Southern Nevada coach Tim) Chambers said Harper has some “bad body language” and occasionally does and says things on the field that he shouldn’t. Last fall he started to go to first on a pitch he thought was ball four, but it was called a strike. Next pitch, he hit a home run. After reaching the dugout, he said to one of the coaches, loud enough for the opponents to hear: “They should have walked me.”
Next time up, Harper got plunked.
“Those little things, he’s still learning,” Chambers said. “He didn’t mean to show them up. He was just giggling to our coach.”
Chambers is one of the unsung heroes of the game — the guys who teach young players the right way to play, before they reach the level of competition where playing the wrong way can be hazardous to their health.
Here what Dusty Baker told us on the subject of taking younger players under your tutelage and “paying it forward” :
“That’s how the game perpetuates itself, and I was always told, well I wasn’t told this, I kind of made this up myself, but I tell people I was told it, to make it sound better, because I’m not some great philosopher, but – I honestly believe that what you learn in this game is not yours to possess, but yours to pass on. I believe, whether it is equipment, knowledge, or philosophy, that’s the only way the game shall carry on. There’s not enough passing on now. . . . I urge my older guys to spend time with the young dudes so the game will continue when I’m gone and they are gone. I believe that you have to talk, communicate, and pass on what was given to you. You can’t harbor it, you can’t run off to the woods and keep it for yourself, because it isn’t yours to keep.”