My sports world is upside-down lately. The Sixers have a plan, the Phillies don’t, Tom McCarthy did something agreeable, Jonathan Papelbon is making sense, and Bryce Harper acted genuinely cool and funny.
It’s the perfect commercial for Brycecakes, too– he makes fun at his own douchiness and shows everyone that he can do something on-camera without it being paid for (directly, at least) by Under Armour.6 Comments
Or, perhaps, a change in latitude, to change their attitude. Natitude.
I sit here smiling like a fruity Cheshire Cat, because on the radio today, Nats announcer Bob Carpenter ripped the now two dozen or so Nats fans for having no clue about anything having to do with baseball. As transcribed by the DC Sports Bog:
“Well, I think there are times when we’re sitting up in the booth saying, ‘Everybody get up, get up,’ most notably during the Strasburg game on Sunday,” the team’s play-by-play voice said Tuesday morning on 106.7 The Fan. (Audio here.) “In the seventh inning he struck out the first two guys, and then when Laynce Nix came up to bat, everybody was just sitting on their hands. With one strike a few people started clapping; two strikes some more people started clapping. And maybe by the time that at-bat ended a couple hundred people were standing. There should have been 30,000 people standing.”
“And that’s what I’d like to see more of, is our fans be a little more aware of certain situations and the fact that Hey, this is our guy, he’s on the mound, he’s about to go seven, he’s about to go eight for the second time,” Carpenter said. “Those are special moments, and I would like to see a little more response. And we have some fans who are still learning this game. I mean, this franchise is in its ninth year, and we still have a lot of new people coming to the ballpark who haven’t been there that much before. So I’m sure the hard-core fans who have been with the Nats since ’05, they’re the ones on their feet and they understand certain situations.”
A contrarian would argue that Laynce Nix and his extra Y, which apparently slows his bat speed, striking out to a rev’d up Stephen Strasburg in the seventh inning on Sunday was as predictable as those gratuitous roller blading shots of Des last night on The Bachelorette— you just knew it was coming… and you knew knees would be knocking. But still, always nice to get a Natitude update. Cue the folks in D.C. who comment meanball on this site between lobbyist meetings!
Also via the D.C. Sports Bog: Bryce Harper promoting underwear for Under Armour. I say there’s about a 94.267% chance his junk was Photoshopped here:
Pic via (@CraigCalcaterra)
Nice dick, bro.11 Comments
via SB Nation
Somehow I think that when Under Armour came up with the slogan We Must Protect This House and then signed Bryce Harper to be a spokesman (and then made a documentary about it and passed it off as a journalistic work), they never expected the walls of said house to freak out their 20-year-old star. More like: We Must Protect Bryce From This House… because its walls are big and scary.
Last week, as you may remember, baby Bryce ran into a wall in Los Angeles and cut himself up pretty bad. It was a traumatic experience for him. So traumatic, in fact, that Brycecakes is now afraid of the wall, as is hilariously demonstrated in this GIF.
We’ll let Washington Times Nats beat writer Amanda Comak explain further:
:*( Poor guy.
Nats closer Rafael Soriano wasn’t as empathetic: [SI.com]
“With two outs and the tying run at first, you have to play the outfield so the ball doesn’t go over your head,” Soriano said in Spanish after the game.
“It may not have been a catch-able ball, but if we’re positioned the right way, there might have been a different outcome. With two outs, I could tell my four-year-old son, ‘You know where you need to play,’ and he would go to the right spot to make the play. It’s not an excuse, and I’m not speaking badly about anybody, but I think that’s how you play the game.”
Harper received 11 stitches under his chin but did not suffer a concussion, according to Nationals officials and Harper’s agent Scott Boras. Harper also underwent “precautionary” X-rays on his jammed left shoulder, Manager Davey Johnson said. He also bruised his neck and knee. The prevailing sentiment was that Harper would probably miss a game or two – even if he pleaded to stay in Monday night as blood dripped down his neck.
There’s nothing funny about this at all. No. Nothing funny. Not at all.
Watch the full video after the jump. Continue reading27 Comments
I’m not going to pretend that I don’t love the way he plays. Unlike seemingly half the guys on the Phillies, Bryce Harper plays like he gives at least a shit and a half, perhaps a shit and two-thirds. He cares. Does everything hard and he’s, you know, good. But I think he’s a douche. I think he grew up being told that he was the greatest (then again, aren’t we all these days?) and experienced way too much fame and notoriety at a young age to be even remotely grounded. Blame him, blame the system, blame Sports Illustrated– whatever. Still, while the Phillies were getting crushed by the Indians, 104-2, I flipped over to ESPN at 9 p.m. to see their special, Bryce Begins. I figured it would be outstanding, 360 look at the young phenom, not unlike like most long-form ESPN stuff– Outside The Lines, 30 for 30, etc. But no. BB was produced by Jess Atkinson’s 3 Penny Films in conjunction with Major League Baseball Productions, which meant that if you thought you were getting an objective view of Bryce Harper from ESPN or any sort of outlet with a journalistic eye, like I did, you were sorely mistaken.
Actually, you were watching a promo for Harper and an ad for Under Armour, Harper’s biggest sponsor.
I don’t blame ESPN for putting this on their air, because it undountedly drove ratings and, yes, it was sometimes entertaining, providing a rare glimpse inside the life of a young superstar. As a baseball fan, I enjoyed it. But the average person likely had no idea that what they were watching was a whitewashed version of Harper without a shred of integrity. 60 Minutes Sports this was not.
Within a few minutes, it was apparent from the sheer amout of blatant Under Armour UA logos shown (and iso-ed) that you were about to be treated to an hour-long promo for the Baltimore-based brand. And once you realized that, it was easy to understand how and why this film was made: Atkinson is a former Maryland kicker who had a few cups of coffee in the NFL. His 3 Penny Films produces shows for, of course, Maryland, Towson, and a few other universities. You can find a list of these works under the “Brands” page on the company’s website… which is where you will also notice that Under Armour is listed as one of their properties, or sponsors. No, really:
And 3 Penny’s co-founder, Bill Kraus, is a former executive of, you guessed it, Under Armour.
At this point, ESPN should have labeled the show “paid programming.” But the coincidences didn’t stop there.
Through it all, camera crews were with him behind the scenes to capture his journey in an unprecedented way. “Bryce Begins,” a one-hour special documenting Harper’s journey from a teenager through the present day, will debut Tuesday, April 30 at 9:00pm ET on ESPN. A collaboration between Major League Baseball Productions and 3 Penny Films, “Bryce Begins” features extensive behind the scenes access with Harper and his family and rare footage from the years leading up to his Major League debut. The film also features new interviews with Harper, his father Ron Harper, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo and Director of Player Development Doug Harris, Nationals teammate Ryan Zimmerman, Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., Harper’s agent Scott Boras, reporters Will Leitch and Tom Verducci, Harper’s high school baseball coach Sam Thomas and 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, among many others.
So, in summary, that list includes: Nats brass, Harper’s father, his high school coach, his teammate and his agent. Others interviewed to lend some (undoubtedly objective) commentary: Tom Verducci (who wrote the SI profile on Harper when he was 16), Mike Trout (AL Rookie of the Year and Harper’s buddy), Will Leitch (founder of Deadspin) and Cal Ripken (Iron Man).
You knew that Verducci and Trout would speak glowingly about Harper– fine. And so did Ripken, WHO IS SPONSORED BY UNDER ARMOUR(!!!). The company sponsors Ripken’s UNDER ARMOUR RIPKEN SOFTBALL CLASSIC (albeit for charity). Ripken, too, is on team Bryce. Only Leitch is legitimate in this documentary.
And it’s no surprise that original footage began – with a shot of Harper’s pink UA cleats – in June, 2011… just two months after he signed an endorsement deal with Under Armour.
I’m not nearly naive enough to think that just about everything we watch and read has some corporate interest, and ESPN never claimed that this was some objective journalistic work about Harper, but BB was gratuitous. A shot of Harper’s dad laying rebar wearing an Under Amour hard hat sealed it: Continue reading17 Comments