Bryce Harper came close to dropping his now-famous catchphrase on an unsuspecting public when he talked to MLB.com's Bill Ladson last winter about wanting to transcend the game and become a celebrity in the style of some of the old-time athletes like Joe Namath, who was then featured in an HBO documentary that focused as much on his off-field activities as it did on his on-field successes. "'I'm going to prove myself on the field, so I can be that kind of guy off the field,'" Harper told the MLB.com reporter, "'I'm not a clown off the field. I just say things ... I speak my mind and I think that's good.'"
"'He was in the style, he did all those commercials, things like that,'" Harper said, continuing to explain why Namath's example was one that impressed him, "'He loved it. I think that's huge. That's one side of me that I like. I'm not your typical, 'Hey, I'm going to be Johnny Good.' You are a baseball player. ... I'm going to have fun off the field, too.'" So far this winter, after a high profile, +4.9 fWAR rookie campaign in which the 19-going-on-20-year-old outfielder coined an "I didn't do it!"-esque catchphrase, hit 26 doubles, nine triples, 22 HRs, posted a .270/.340/.477 line, made an All-Star appearance and was named the NL Rookie of the Year, Harper's been all over the place...
1. GRRR!!: Harper's been seen growling at the camera, throwing bats and exhaling digital breath in an Under Armour commercial that shows him taking batting practice in a light snowstorm:
2. Game Faces: Harper was also up for consideration for the cover of MLB13 The Show, and was filmed for several promotional videos asking fans to vote him onto the cover of the game. In the following video, Harper explains the difference between the various eyeblack designs he employs to get a strategic advantage on opposing pitchers:
3. Harper, Harper, Harper: In the most shocking online leak of footage since Persephone (aka Rachel Blake) exposed the Hanso Foundation's nefarious activities, Nats' GM Mike Rizzo's plans for the 2014 Nats' outfield were revealed in another video tied to the release of the Sony PS3 game... Harper in left, center and right...
4. Jimmy Kimmel?: Up next for the Nats' 2010 no.1 overall pick is an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live where he'll be seen alongside Rob Lowe (aka Sam Seaborn from the West Wing or Dean "Deaner" Youngblood from the biopic of the great eponymous minor league hockey player/hero) and Big Boi from OutKast, who will be performing a track from his recent solo release Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors:
5. Top 10: Harper won't be the first National to appear on late night television, of course. Personable '09 no.1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman back in 2010 after striking out 14 in his MLB debut to deliver the Top 10 Little Known Facts About Himself:
• HARPER IS A STAR: Jimmy Kimmel Live airs weeknights at a new time, 11:35 pm EST now. We'll be taking bets here in the Bryce Harper Jimmy Kimmel Live Show GameThread on how long into the interview the "clown question, bro" quote is first mentioned. In case you somehow missed the origin of Harper's t-shirt-worthy quote last season, here's the video that sold a few thousand shirts:
• Senators Are Saying It: Will Harry Reid Get A Clown-Question-related mention? Watch Harper on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight... (the following is from a post this past June):
"Just when when you thought we'd finally gotten past the whole, "That's a clown question, bro!" phenomenon, Nevada Senator Harry Reid (from Harper's home state) officially ended the line's run as a humorous meme by dropping the line on reporters this afternoon and getting laughs from the press. (I swear I hear a reporter asking if he said "Bro," on the audio here.)"
Check out the video of Bryce Harper's catchphrase coming out of a senators' mouth:
• Bryce Harper live tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live. The older members of our audience, can please ask their kids how to set the DVR rather than clogging the comments section with those questions. Thanks. Tune in at 11:35 and log on here for the Bryce Harper/Jimmy Kimmel GameThread...