- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Attention Sports Fans!
I have some great news for you!
Remember how we all loved to criticize LeBron James and call him a choker and a failure and a complete waste of basketball talent who should just quit and leave the country and live in a cave somewhere in shame for the rest of his days? Those were some great years.
Well, as you know, LeBron went and won a championship last June. Then he won his second gold medal. Worst of all, he is only 27 years old, so there’s a chance all this could happen several more times.
I know. It’s depressing.
But what if I told you there might be a new remarkably talented athlete we could all irrationally hate and call a choker and a failure? You’d be in, right? Of course you would!
Now take a look at this. Yep. Bryce Harper has long been called the LeBron of baseball. Here’s the great part: He’s already in the playoffs as a 19-year-old rookie, and he’s 1-for-10 so far with six strikeouts and a terrible base-running error. Is he terrible or what?
But the great news doesn’t stop there!
No one even started calling LeBron a choker until the 2008 playoffs were over -- when he was 23 years old and a five-year pro. We can get a four-year jump on criticizing Harper if we start now!
Also, consider this: Fewer teams make the playoffs in MLB than in the NBA, and basketball is a sport in which a single dominant player can have far greater impact than in baseball. If the Nationals don’t win the World Series this year, there’s no guarantee Harper will make the playoffs again anytime soon no matter what kind of numbers he puts up. He might not make it back until 2014 or 2020 or 2000-never. His championship prospects are much more reliant on the play of his teammates than LeBron’s are. Harper could hit 500 home runs, get 3,000 hits and win 15 Gold Gloves but never win a ring. CHOKER!
Best of all, there is a great chance he dumps little old Washington, D.C., when he is a free agent in 2018 to take his talents to Orchard Beach in the Bronx. A total LeBron move. Harper is an avowed, lifelong Yankees fan, and Alex Rodriguez’s huge contract will be off New York’s books after the 2017 season. It’s going to happen.
So what I’m offering you, dear sports fan haters, is a chance to get in on the ground floor of being insanely biased Bryce Harper haters. This is like the sports hater equivalent of getting Manhattan for 20 bucks in 1626. You can be the hipsters of calling Harper a choker.
Tweet your anti-Harper hashtags -- #LeBryce, #3pitchBryceout, #BryceChoker (the less clever the better) -- and let the world know that this remarkably talented teenager is a massively overrated failure.
And if Harper turns it around in the playoffs and the Nationals win the World Series? Hey, good for him. It was our criticism that made him better.