It’s a bold statement, I know, but Bryce Harper is ready to be crowned the new face of the Washington Nationals.
Since being drafted by the ball club in 2005 out of the University of Virginia, that title has always belonged to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and rightfully so. He christened the new Nats Park when he hit a game-winning walk-off home run in the Nationals first ever game in their new stadium. Zimmerman was also the team’s first ever draft pick, and many believe that he will begin and end his career as a National.
But while Zimmerman continues to age, the rest of the ball club only gets younger. With the emergence of guys like Harper, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg and a whole host of young minor leaguers anxiously awaiting their chance, it almost seems right that Harper takes over the heavily-respected title.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not intended as a slight against Zimmerman. He’s a great player, has been great for the Nationals and has been a fan-favorite from day one. He comes to work with a positive attitude and is a role model for players on all levels of baseball.
However, more and more each day does the name Bryce Harper come to mind when the Washington Nationals are mentioned before Ryan Zimmerman. He may only be 20, almost 21, but he’s maturing faster than most people his age, let alone ball players his age.
Think of it more as a passing of the torch rather than the fall of Ryan Zimmerman. It’s a sad truth but a truth nonetheless. Bryce Harper is a vocal leader, can back up his words with his play and is great for the area and has been embraced by Nationals everywhere. There seems to be no better person for Zimmerman to pass the crown to.
It’s time, Nationals fans. The new face of the franchise has arrived.