Bryce Harper proved that the future may be in the present after becoming the youngest unanimous MVP in major-league history last season, and the Washington Nationals slugger now believes the next generation of talent is primed to change the game, and baseball's old mentality may be altering along with the rise of its new talent.
"Baseball's tired," Harper told ESPN's Tim Keown in an exclusive interview. "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 has shown a flare for the dramatic in his young career, getting into a dugout skirmish with teammate Jonathan Papelbon, while displaying intense emotion after home runs, but he believes the old-school thinking of not showing up your opponent when you do something great takes an entertaining element out of the game, and he'd like to see these unwritten rules change.
"Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn't care. Because you got him. That's part of the game. It's not the old feeling - hoorah ... if you pimp a homer, I'm going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot ... I mean - sorry."
Harper, who finished the 2015 campaign with a .330/.460/.649 slash line to go along with 42 home runs and 99 RBIs, will look to help guide the Nationals to a National League East title after they finished a disappointing 83-79 last season.