Ironically enough, Bryce harper will be stealing some of the Capitals and RGIII's spotlight on Saturday, in Los Angeles. Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- I could write a 5,000 word essay on the pros and cons of 19-year-old Bryce Harper's arrival to the big leagues. Anybody who follows baseball could. So, I'll try and keep this as simple as possible.
This past off-season -- whether it was right or not -- the Washington Nationals declared war on the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nats Chief Operating Officer Andy Feffer helped develop a campaign, entitled "Take back the park."
The goal for the promotion was to heavily limit the amount of Phillies fans in attendance, a group of perceived hooligans who have tended to raid Nationals Park over the past few years. Pre-sale tickets for the upcoming May 4-6 were limited to credit cards whose billing address was in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. That's quite a bold move for a team formerly known as the Montreal Expos.
Many have dubbed next weekend's series as the most intriguing pre-all-star break in many decades.
And that's the forefront reason why Bryce Harper is now a Washington National.
If the team were to fall flat on its face against the Phillies, all hell would break loose. The morale of the clubhouse would be flipped upside down, the growing fan attendance and buzz might significantly shrink and if Harper was still down in AAA Syracuse during three straight defeats, Mike Rizzo would be hounded by critics for sitting mum during the most important series in team history, thus far.
Without Harper -- or Michael Morse or Ryan Zimmerman -- the only Nat in the lineup to fear is Jayson Werth, and we all know how poorly he handled the spotlight last season. Even if Washington does falter in the series, at least the teenaged Harper on the field would show a sellout crowd full of Nationals fans how promising the future will become.
Rizzo indicated during his teleconference that if Harper should falter, he may be sent back down to the minors. The risk of Bryce Harper struggling versus Bryce Harper storming out of the gates is worth the gamble for the Nationals organization.