Molds, like records, are made to be broken.
They are nothing more than pre-formed standards.
Bryce Harper is starting his quest to change both concepts.
Harper joined the Washington lineup just 10 days ago and has added a whirlwind of interest not only to the Nationals, but to baseball.
The 19-year-old former Hagerstown Sun has already made eye-popping defensive plays and timely hits, a couple already leading to wins. It took him only two games to move from seventh to third in a Nationals batting order that needs more offense despite owning one of the best records in baseball.
It all breaks Oscar Wilde’s mold that “with age comes wisdom.”
In baseball, Harper is much wiser than his years.
“I don’t think I have any more pressure on me than I had (two years ago),” Harper said on April 3, 2011 during his first interview as a Sun. “I don’t care. I don’t care what people say. I don’t care if I go 0-for-3 in a game if we win. You only have to average 3-for-10 to make it to the Hall of Fame.”
In reality, Harper has no pressure now. His promotion, although earlier than projected, puts him in his element. He has been a lifelong overachiever.
He has spent his entire life playing like a man among boys to become what he is today — a boy among men.
Still, popular baseball wisdom helped Harper get to this point.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson knew it was only a short matter of time before Harper reached the majors and predicted his impact 13 months ago on the phenom’s first day in Hagerstown.
“He’s not afraid of failure. That lets him set his goals as high as he wants,” Johnson said at that same media day. “He’ll have times out there when he is overly aggressive as opposed to passively aggressive. I love that in a player. … He has good habits, but it will allow him to set the good habits for himself.”
Many doubted Johnson.
Every opinion screamed for Harper to be in the majors from Day One of his professional career.
Fans couldn’t figure why he wasn’t the immediate care package sent to rescue the floundering Nationals.
Harper’s minor league placement provided great fodder for endless columns from countless writers.
In all the confusion, most everyone overlooked one fact.