HARPER STOCK RISES WHILE CHARACTER FALLS

By:  Kurt Snyder

I guess people show their age when they discuss topics like character versus entertainment. Fans of today, the young fans, the fans all of sports need to draw to continue to advance their games, don’t think the same way as fans who have been watching for 40+ years. They demand more than just the game. They demand continuous entertainment.

In the height of the electronic age, music has never been bigger. Sure, music is still played on the radio, but you have more control over your music listening options than you ever had before. Automotive companies are all wisely catering to the new age by offering Wifi, satellite radio and the option to listen to your own music through any source.

You no longer need a radio and you know longer need to wait for advertising to end to resume your music listening pleasure. You can listen to music on your phone or your iPad. You can load your own music from iTunes or you can subscribe to Spotify or Pandora. The options are endless.

So music is woven into the fabric of people. It always has been. But maybe not like today. Music has become a large presence in sports. It’s played during timeouts and between innings and within the last 10 years, the “ever popular” walk up songs have emerged.

Baseball players before every season choose the song or songs they would like played when they come to bat. It seems silly and unnecessary. But fans love it. Today’s fans love it. And these are the fans you need to please, so I can see why this kind of entertainment has continued.

But it’s time for teams to reign in their players and get a little control over what music they are choosing. If you want to think about your young fans, you must continue to think about the very young, the kids, as well.

Walk up music has reached a new low as Bryce Harper introduced his new “song” in the form of rapper J. Cole’s “gem,” G.O.M.D. You can Google it, but I don’t recommend it.   It’s not for the faint of heart.

Now I am no angel, but I cringe when fans around me throw around the F-bomb with no regard for children in attendance. But you do take a chance as parents that your kids are going to hear some surly language at a sporting event. Whether it’s profanity or just inappropriate talk in a family atmosphere, it’s difficult to control. But I would hope you could be relatively comfortable knowing that the walk up music chosen by a player would not be offensive. Bryce Harper has decided he would rather it be offensive.

This is not the first time this year I have chosen Bryce as a topic of discussion. https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/the-face-of-the-game/.

He is falling down my list of desirable baseball players. Already this season, he’s called baseball boring and describes it as a sport that does not allow him to express himself. And you know what? It looks like baseball needs to do a better job of suppressing his expression. He obviously needs it.

How on earth can the Washington Nationals allow even the slightest portion of a song with that kind of message? Kids are very inquisitive and I am sure many parents have cringed in response to their son’s or daughter’s question about what that song is or means.

I scanned all over the web for any amount of disdain over this latest Bryce Harper cry for attention. You could count on one hand how many writers spent more than 1 or 2 paragraphs on the topic. Nobody wants to touch it. Well, in my eyes, it needs much more mention.

There is so much great music that has been written over the course of history, so many great songs; there are so many great music genres. The options are endless for players in considering their “all important” walk up music.

But Bryce Harper has decided that in order to market himself better in America, he needs to draw negative attention. And sadly, it’s been a very successful approach for many athletes and entertainers. Who’s more popular? The squeaky clean or the brash and controversial? Sadly it’s the latter.

Bryce Harper is a great ballplayer. One of the best in baseball. But even if affordable (not likely), Al Avila has made it clear that good character will be a consideration for future Tigers, whether through free agency, trade or the draft. Going forward, it will be considered part of the “Tigers Way.”

Knowing that, you can count on Bryce Harper never being a Tiger. His act plays just fine somewhere else.

17 thoughts on “HARPER STOCK RISES WHILE CHARACTER FALLS

  1. Good post Kurt & Harper’s team ownership or MLB should clean up his choice of music. Will fans complain or just accept it ?

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  2. I am a purist and wish the game was just about the game, not all the entertainment that is thrown in my face. I wish I could go to the game, keep score, eat, be into the game with everyone focused on the game. Not saying you can’t but it seems like society can’t do anything without all the bells and whistles of entertainment. Can’t we just sit, be quiet and THINK as a people any more?

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    • I’ve often thought the same thing. People pay the high prices and bring their plastic with them. They put up with the traffic, the crowds, the parking and a lot of these people are taking selfies, facebooking, twittering, snap chatting, vineing and otherwise looking at their phones as opposed to following the game. You can save so much money and headaches by doing this stuff at home.

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  3. A lot of parallels could be drawn to the current political environment. Kurt would only need to change a couple words in this post to describe the current campaign season. It’s not just baseball, it’s all of society from the top down.

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  4. I never heard of the song till now so I decided to listen to it. All you need is to listen to the first minute. I can’t believe Nationals management would accept this. If his questionable attitude persists then the Nationals would be wise to not even make him an offer when he hits free agency. By then he can be a distraction for the Yankees or Dodgers

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  5. I always kind of liked just the organ music. Can’t stand the music blaring at the ballpark. Takes away from the pastoral setting that is part of baseball’s fabric.

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  6. What exactly is the Tigers Way? Where can I read, hear or learn more. While at it can you point to ANYTHING published or spoken that contains the criteria given to Brad Ausmus end of last year to keep his job. Those famous expectation given by Mr. Avila to Brad. Would love if you have an article already written in past that I missed covering either topic or both.

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    • Hi, Matt – The Tigers Way was starting to be developed over this past winter Unfortunately, Al Avila said it is an internal document and not available to the public. Hope this helps and thanks for reading! – Holly

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      • How do we/you know what criteria is in said Tigers Way to be confident Bryce will never be a Tiger?
        “Al Avila has made it clear that good character will be a consideration for future Tigers, whether through free agency, trade or the draft. Going forward, it will be considered part of the “Tigers Way.”

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      • Matt – in analyzing Avila’s new mandate on building a new consistent culture, Avila said, “It’ll be more uniform and the transition will be easier,” Avila said. “This year will be the first time that we actually bring everybody together and Dave Littlefield and his staff will have that mandate of creating a Tiger way let’s say of playing the game.” Ausmus said this will extend beyond base stealing and on-field situations: “There’s a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. There’s a right way to act, there’s a right way to respect your opponents, there’s a wrong way to disrespect your opponents.” That says a lot about the kind of player the Tigers will want in the future. Thanks, Kurt

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  7. The Sporting News did have a blurb on the subject “Bryce Harper caps off cockiest walkup song ever with monster home run”

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  8. Can promise you Avila would love to have Harper on this team at his current salary of $5 million a year he’s probably the best bargain in MLB. Harper plays the game very hard and works at it even harder and would be a great guy for any team to have IMO.

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  9. Back in the day, I went to a game at Tiger Stadium. Bobby Higginson’s walk-up song was “Philadelphia Freedom” and Chris Gomez’s song was the theme from the Adams’ Family. I remember thinking that Gomez must have been a little embarrassed. Unfortunately now the pendulum has swung the other way toward obscene and tasteless.

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  10. Im sure no fan of blasting music during sporting events. And I LOVE Rock and Roll. Walk up tunes, F Bombs, beer guzzling, and lack of knowledge/respect for the game are all the ornaments that come with attending a game now. Give me spring training atmosphere and senior crowds any day!

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  11. Cruising the net I just saw a picture of Harper wearing a baseball with “Make Baseball Fun Again” across the front of the hat. Sounds to me like he wants to take the game back to a time before he was in it. That’s OK with me.

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  12. For what it is worth, my 13 year old son, who is hardly a gang banger, loves that song, and says that the stuff that drives us crazy in it is clearly meant ironically. Personally, as my screen name indicates, I prefer Beethoven string quartets.

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