It’s been a while, and no better place to get back in than to address the minor controversy swirling about Bryce Harper blowing a kiss at a pitcher after hitting a long bomb off of him. I got a little fed up with all of the armchair analysts out there knocking him, without taking this entire episode in the proper context. Boswell is the only one so far who has at least connected the dots (unless you count Cowherd, who himself garnered some ‘publicity’ with his assessment of the situation).
Did Harper step outside of normal MLB-bounds by his maneuver? Sure. But he’s not in the majors yet. He will quickly figure out that you cannot get away with that because you’ll alienate fans and also get fastballs aimed at your chin. But in this instance, most people are uninformed about the fact that a day earlier, he had been drilled in the knee by the same team, which could have led to a significant injury. Then the following day, the day of the incident, he was brushed back from the plate during an earlier at-bat. For the chain of events that happened next, you’d have to spread some blame around. Harper hits a long homer off the pitcher, and admires it a little long before beginning his home run trot. The admiration was rubbing it in after Greensboro had provoked him with a beanball and a brushback. But instead of being even, the pitcher then jawed at him all the way around the bases. So upon rounding third, Harper blew the guy a kiss. Harper is not the only one to blame here. Although he could have taken the high road here, he did not and that’s ok. It should not make him a pariah. Cut him some slack. If he doesn’t learn over time, then people can get after him about his antics.