Bryce Harper faced the media and his teammates at spring training, noticeably bigger than the last time we saw him – about 230 pounds to be exact.
“I think it’s just age,” he says. “The older I get, the bigger I get… I’m just glad I’m not 40 yet. You and me both want to stay as young as I can. Playing this game I love, I’m really blessed with everything I have.”
Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.
At one point in the spring, Harper hit 440. His never-quit, old-school approach to the game is well-documented, and was even featured in a recent Under Armour commercial.
Harper plays with such tenacity because no one is safe from competition, not even the face of a franchise.
“I think it’s possible that somebody can come in and do better than me and it’s possible. Maybe it might not happen, but you got to think in the back of your head. Any given time somebody can come in and look better than you, do better than you, and take your spot.”
While baseball’s Rookie of the Year hardly has to worry about such a fate, Harper will have his hands full. After such a break out year, opposing teams are now well aware o what he can do.
“Good comes with bad,” he says. “I think coming into this year I’m really going to play the same game I have my whole life. I’ve always had a target on my back. The season was OK last year. My expectations are always high and I want to be perfect in every aspect of the game.”
Harper isn’t the only National to grow up with the club. Ryan Zimmerman also dealt with pressures of popularity at a young age. Now, a sort of seasoned vet, Zimmerman wants to make sure Harper follows in his footsteps.
“I’m looking forward to playing with him for a long, long time. Want to talk to him for the next few years and get him on my program,” says Zimmerman.
But Harper is only focused on the here and now.
“… I think bringing something back to D.C. is my main goal. I want to get every single finger on my hand with a ring. That’s what I dreamed since I was 6 years old and hopefully I can make that happen for not only this team but the fans of D.C.,” Harper says.