"Bryce just missed a fastball from hitting it 500 miles. He had a great swing and was off just a tick."
(Nationals hitting coordinator Rick Schu, via Byron Kerr/MASNSports.com, 10/24/2010)
One of the biggest drags about Bryce Harper playing on the Scottsdale Scorpions "taxi squad" in the Arizona Fall League is being forced to wait around for Wednesdays and Saturdays to see how the kid does. So far, so good, by the way.
And that's not to say we're not interested in how the other Nats prospects in the AFL are doing. You know: Adam Carr, Cole Kimball, Brad Peacock, Sammy Solis, Stephen Lombardozzi, Derek Norris, and Michael Burgess.
But the Bryce Harper story is just too damn intriguing to have to wait around to see what he's going to do next.
Anyway, in the video above, Bryce Harper can be seen taking on the autograph hounds out in AZ, signing autographs on Saturday Oct. 23, his second (and latest) start for Scottsdale. Note the number of bats lined up on top of the dugout, a few kids strategically placed in the front row, and the sound of a grown man whistling and calling out to "Mr. Harper" to get an 18 year old kid's autograph. Weird, right? Also, watch as several prospective autograph seekers underthrow their baseballs, only to be met with a look of disdain from Mr. Harper.
Baseball Jesus 2.0 doesn't have time to retrieve underthrown baseballs. Can you blame him?
Not surprisingly, the memorabilia hounds have been out in full force since Harper's AFL arrival in Arizona. Here's Adam Kilgore's account from the Washington Post after Harper's debut:
Once the game finished, Harper shook hands with teammates and found a scrum of autograph seekers four rows deep by the first base dugout. They extended baseballs, cards and a Sports Illustrated with his picture. Harper signed for about 10 minutes before he apologetically said, "Okay, guys I have to go." After speaking with reporters, Harper signed a few more before ducking into the dugout for good.
"I hope they understand," Ron Harper said. "I told him to try and accommodate as many of them as he can and be respectful. But he also needs to fit in and be one of the guys. When he's out there, his teammates are going into the clubhouse to eat together."
(via Washington Post, 10/21/2010)