Bryce Harper has been held down in one of the most airtight media relations bubbles of any athlete in recent memory. Drafted just one year after Stephen Strasburg, Harper has been treated much differently by the Nationals. Opportunities for media to speak with him are few and far between and one-on-one interviews are quite rare.
But even with little access to speak his mind, Harper always seems to say something interesting. And judging by a recent interview with MLB.com, that seems to be his intention.
Harper says he is going to be his own person and spoke specifically of New York Jets great Joe Namath as an example of what he would like to be: a fun player both on and off the field.
"A football player I can name is Joe Namath. ... He had that city life and everything like that, but he was one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, he said.
He had a night life, he had his own place, I think it was called Bachelors III. He had his own thing that he wanted to do. ... He was in the style.
Harper then went back to his plans to make an impact off-the-field.
Namath loved it. I think that's huge. That's one side of me that I like. I'm not your typical, 'Hey, I'm going to be Johnny Good.' You are a baseball player. ... I'm going to have fun off the field, too."
This is probably concerning for D.C. sports fans who have grown accustomed to their teams stars being bigger off the field than on. But Harper swears he will back it up, in fact, he says the personality will only come out once his merit on the field is proven.
"I'm going to prove myself on the field, so I can be that kind of guy off the field, he said.
Harper clearly doesnt care what people think of him and will say whatever is on his mind at the moment. He recently caught fire from D.C. sports fans for proclaiming the Dallas Cowboys as his favorite NFL team. He sent the message through Twitter and also added I hate those Redskins!
But whatever reaction Harper gets from comments he makes, it doesnt seem like anything will stop him from sharing his opinions.
I just say things ... I speak my mind and I think that's good. If I speak my mind and people know the real me, then they are going to like me more. I'm not a liar. I say things I want to say. That's how it is, I guess, he said.
Harper said all of this in an online piece about his increasing chances of making the Nationals roster out of spring training. There is no doubt his debut in the major leagues is going to be special for the city and the league. But considering Harpers personality, there may be even more reasons to watch this kid moving forward.