On the night of the 2010 MLB Draft, Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was asked if no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper would continue to wear his trademark eyeblack smeared on his face "warrior"-style once he joined the organization, assuming of course, that he signed.
"No," Rizzo said simply before fielding another question.
The "tape-measure-testing, laser-throwing, eyeblack-oozing baseball cyborg," as New York Times' writer Alan Schwarz so aptly described him while he was still in junior college, was asked to tone down the eyeblack and he did, but it's still part of his signature "look" and today he announced that he's now promoting Bryce Harper-themed eyeblack:
You'll notice the sharp straight lines in the picture above, however. No more eyeblack oozing for the now-21-year-old slugger.
Harper, sans dramatically smeared eyeblack, is hitting third tonight in the Nats' 6:05 PM EDT Grapefruit League matchup with the Houston Astros which is available on the radio in the nation's capital on WJFK 1580 AM and via MLB.com's Gamday Audio. Gio Gonzalez is on the mound for the Nationals in his second start of the spring.
• Here's the rest of the Nationals' lineup:
By the way, there was a lot of lineup discussion in Matt Williams' pregame press conference on Sunday. A lot of who hits where and why?
In an interview with Danny Rouhier and Grant Paulsen that aired on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. this afternoon, Harper was asked where he'd ideally like to hit this season. He said, first off, that he was just happy to know he'd be playing left field most days so he didn't have to think about that, but when it came to his spot in the order?
"If I'm in that lineup, I don't really care where I'm at. As long as I'm getting protection from the two guys that are surrounding me and you know it's nice to be able to go in and hit 3-4-5, I really don't care. I could hit two, nine, I mean, I just want to be in the lineup hitting and swinging it and trying to help my team win."
• Check out the rest of Harper's interview below:
Game time: 6:05 pm EDT from Space Coast Stadium... and again, the game can be heard live on 1580 AM in the nation's capital and everywhere else on MLB.com's Gameday Audio.
Who's listening to the Nationals?