In a recently released ESPN The Magazine profile, Washington Nationals rightfielder and reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper called baseball “a tired sport” and said that MLB needs more fun personalities and players on the field.
“Baseball’s tired,” Harper said. “It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig—there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.”
Harper, 23, also added that the excitement of Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Cavaliers forward LeBron James attracts kids to play basketball, and that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton does the same for football.
“You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball,” Harper said. “Look at those players—Steph Curry, LeBron James. It’s exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton—I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It’s that flair. The dramatic.”
The SI Extra Newsletter Get the best of Sports Illustrated delivered right to your inbox
Harper, a three-time All-Star, batted .330 with 42 home runs and 99 RBIs last season for the Nationals. In his four MLB seasons, he is a career .289 hitter with 97 home runs and 248 RBIs.