In just about every professional sport, fans are on the lookout for the next one. Be it the next Michael Jordan, the next Lionel Messi, the next Peyton Manning, the next what-have-you. In baseball, the hunt for the next "Natural" is always underway, and the latest potential nominee for that mantle is Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.
Much like LeBron James, the legend of Bryce Harper (The Hopper!!!) began when he was in high school. Actually, it began in earnest when Harper left high school--with his GED--early in order to be eligible for the 2010 Amateur Draft. Before that, however, Harper enrolled at College of Southern Nevada, a junior college that allowed him to show off his immense baseball skills. The hype meter for Harper increased when he hit 31 homeruns in only 66 games.
Sports Illustrated also contributed mightily to the Legend of Bryce Harper with the following cover:
After two successful years in the minor leagues for seasoning purposes--as of today, Harper is only 19 years old--Harper was called up to the Nationals on April 27, 2012. Harper's Major League career began the next game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which saw him get his first hit. While that particular milestone will forever be remembered for the moon that appeared behind Harper, the throw he made from the outfield to the home plate did as much, if not more, to enhance his legend as a next great baseball player.
Harper's throw came last night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it was such a devastating display of athleticism, it apparently fooled the umpire into calling the runner safe. Apparently, even the umpire didn't believe Harper was capable of such a throw, so he assumed the runner beat the tag, even though freeze-frames show otherwise. SBNation was kind enough to capture the throw in gif format, the image format that just won't die:
However, thanks to Deadspin's post, I now know that Major League Baseball has finally allowed the embedding of their highlights:
I'm not even going to ask what took them so long, because they may rethink such a drastic decision. With that in mind, are you feeling the Bryce Harper hype or is the sample size not big enough?