The unnecessary drama surrounding Bryce Harper this week was put into perspective by Cubs starter Jason Hammel, who was pulled from today’s 7-2 victory over the Nats after just six innings and 92 pitches. Hammel told the media after the game:
“I would have liked to have stayed out there in the seventh. I have no idea why I came out of the game.”
By any definition, this is “telling a manager how to do his job,” the same charge repeatedly leveled against Bryce Harper after he told the media he’d like to see Ryan Zimmerman stay in left field. Yet, we are unlikely to see Hammel’s comments on Sportscenter and Baseball Tonight. We’re equally unlikely to see the Chicago version of Tom Boswell write an entire column how Hammel needs to be a more “mature teammate,” just as we are unlikely to see the Chicago version of Mike Wise (God help us if there’s another Mike Wise out there) write a column how Hammel is acting like he’s 12.
We are likely, however, to continue receiving almost daily reminders there are two standards for Major League Baseball players: a standard for Bryce Harper and a standard for everyone else.
Harper has been living with this reality since even before he became a professional player. Considering all the circumstances, he’s actually doing pretty well. Since no one else seems likely to cut the kid some slack, maybe Nationals fans can be the ones to do it. He might appreciate it.