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Friday, April 25, 2014

Leavengood: Mike Trout and Bryce Harper: Pat Boone and Elvis

Tutti Frutti, good booty!

But Trout has those gleaming white teeth that remind me more of Pat Boone than anyone else, and if Trout had gone to college, he would fill out his Letterman Sweater and the girls would swoon like they once did for the last of the great crooners, Mr. Argyle Elegance himself. Harper has none of that Joe College appeal. He was all Charlie Hustle in his first season in Washington, DC. The Nationals were struggling after there face plate, Ryan Zimmerman, started slow and went on the DL. Wilson Ramos tore up his knee and like a super hero, Bryce Harper flew to the rescue. Like Superman, “the Kid” put his finger in the socket and all the necessary energy flowed into the team as he propelled the team to their best finish ever.

Harper dared opposing outfielders to dawdle when he raked a single their way. He would take second if there was the slightest nonchalance and he would get up from the dirt smacking his hands together in delight. That daring won him a reputation that did not sit well with more established players. He was brash and bold, no Pat Boone to Bryce Harper. No, he was all Elvis. Elvis drew on the sexual and racial energy of southern blues singers and part of that is certainly missing from Harper. Indeed, one wonders if a big weekend romp with Keith Richards might be just what the doctor ordered for the moody Harper.

It is that racial energy that Elvis drew upon that is reminiscent of Harper. The brashness of a Carlos Gomez has more to do with Harper’s style of play and the reaction of baseball to Gomez and Harper is quite the same. Brian McCann called Gomez out for his styling around the bases in the same way that the Braves called out Harper for a similar home run trot. The recent kerfluffle of Gomez and Gerrit Cole shows a Carlos Gomez still feeding on that energy, while Bryce Harper may be trying to put the genii back in the bottle. There in may lie the mistake.

One thinks back to Reggie Jackson when drawing comparisons to Bryce Harper. The “In-your-face” quality of Harper’s play calls to mind Satchel Paige and other players who could not be put in a box and told to, “play like everyone else.” Many of those players are African-Americans, though Ty Cobb probably belongs at the same counter with them, all irony intended.

But I would argue that if Bryce Harper is going to succeed, then he needs to loose his inner demons and go all Keith Richards on the baseball world. He respects the game and plays it by the book and it may be the effort to conform to other people’s expectations that is holding him back. I think we saw the real Bryce Harper back in 2012 when he was running full tilt like a demon around the base paths. He has learned that he cannot run through walls, but he needs to understand that maybe he needs to try every once in a while if only to keep himself sharp.

In the end Elvis had more of an impact on the world of music than Pat Boone. He allowed white kids their first chance to experience the libidinal power of the pulsing bass line behind the blues, the thumping drum beat that originated in Africa. Bryce Harper may yet make the brash style of play of international talents like Carlos Gomez acceptable to American kids of all stripes. It won’t be tomorrow. No, white culture still rules baseball and we have their standards to uphold. And maybe Bryce is too repressed to lead the charge.

But I am pulling for the inner Bryce, the guy who first brought electricity to Washington baseball. If he can find that player again, the sky is the limit. Mike Trout has a great future as a ball player and I have all the respect for him in the world. But it comes too easy for him.Years from now he will be selling reverse mortgages or motorized wheel chairs. All the best to him. But Bryce has a chance, just like with Carlos Gomez, to bring a raw edgy excitement to the game and we would do well to let all of them play their game. We would do well to just strap in for the ride, cause when they bring that Bryce Harper traveling show to town , then ain’t gonna be no messing around.

Repoz Posted: April 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4693905)
I'm fine with the comparison just so long as Harper's autopsy doesn't read "Straining at Stool."
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4693942)
So Yasiel Puig's gotta be Little Richard, right?
   3. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4693957)
I think Trout is amazing and watching him makes me tingle, but he has no freaking charisma (which matters about 0% of course). I think that's kind of why Trouty is peddling Subway while Harper has that over the top Gatorade commercial.

//plus, MLB.. that Simon Says commercial with Trout makes him look like an ass.
   4. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4693961)
watching him makes me tingle


TMI.
   5. attaboy Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4693970)
Harper/Gatorade = AWESOME AD. Interesting how advertisers find the right roles for each Harper and Trout and make each commercial fit to their public imagine so well. Trout doing that Gatorade ad? Harper hawking subway? Of course, these might be their public persona's and maybe very different in their homes (although I doubt it).
   6. attaboy Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4693974)
BTW, having read the entire article, I am sorry I did. I wish the writer had put together two good paragraphs rather than all the nonsense in that article.
   7. Publius Publicola Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4693992)
OK, I can take Bryce harper being compared to Elvis. But Trout, being compared to Pat Boone... where's my shotgun?
   8. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4694001)
So. I pulled up the YouTube of this apparent commercial. If that sells drinks to Millenials, Millenials should be rounded up by the train car load.
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4694002)
Beatles = Trout
Rolling Stones = Harper
   10. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4694037)
Trout is Lord Palmerston, and Harper is Pitt the Elder.
   11. Shredder Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4694053)
Trout doing that Gatorade ad? Harper hawking subway?
The hilarious thing (to me anyway) about Trout's Subway endorsement is that there is a sandwich chain literally named "Jersey Mike's", and they couldn't sign a deal with the biggest sports star on the planet who is both from New Jersey and named Mike.
   12. The Mighty Quintana Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4694054)
Trout : Harper
Tom Hanks : Michael Keaton

They sort of started out in the early 80's with the same amount of hype. Only one justified all of it....
   13. kthejoker Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4694076)
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Michael Keaton brought his A-game to the Pixar universe, and he basically got really disillusioned with acting in the 90s and scaled back to his rural Pennsylvanian roots. Whereas Tom Hanks, transcendent as he has been, has turned into a churn-em-out performer a la late period James Stewart, affable and twinkly, with only brief glimpses of what he once brought to the table. He needs an Anthony Mann (maybe Greengrass?) to charge his batteries again.

I'm pretty sure if you switched their careers you wouldn't notice much of a drop in quality. Tom Hanks as Bruce Wayne would be sweet.
   14. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4694085)
Beatles = Trout
Rolling Stones = Harper


Is Manny Machado Led Zeppelin?
   15. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4694106)
Beatles = Trout
Rolling Stones = Harper
Right now Harper's more like Badfinger (a very good band) than the Stones (a transcendent band).
   16. attaboy Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4694108)
Trout : Harper
Tom Hanks : Michael Keaton


I think Harper will be just fine. He may not be Trout but then being the second best player in the entire game for a generation is a fine showing. He's still so young it is scary.
   17. DA Baracus Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4694120)
The hilarious thing (to me anyway) about Trout's Subway endorsement is that there is a sandwich chain literally named "Jersey Mike's", and they couldn't sign a deal with the biggest sports star on the planet who is both from New Jersey and named Mike.


Anyone from Jersey knows that Jersey Mike's ain't a hoagie.
   18. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4694141)
Right now Harper's more like Badfinger (a very good band) than the Stones (a transcendent band).

Now and forever, Badfinger is Antonio Alfonseca.
   19. TerpNats Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4694144)
This reminds me of something I wrote regarding comparisons film critic Mick LaSalle did for his excellent book on pre-Code actresses, "Complicated Women":
The analogy game is one fraught with peril. While comparisons can be illuminating, there's always the temptation to go too far. For example, in his fine book on pre-Code actresses, "Complicated Women," Mick LaSalle, trying to explain the popularity of such women among youth of their time, analogizes them to 1960s British rock bands:

"Greta Garbo and Norma Shearer became the Beatles and the (Rolling) Stones, respectively. Joan Crawford and Jean Harlow became, one could say, the Who and Led Zeppelin -- with Marlene Dietrich becoming, say, the Animals."

LaSalle then adds, "Obviously, this analogy has snapped" (too bad -- who were the pre-Code equivalent of the Searchers? Gerry and the Pacemakers? Freddie and the Dreamers?).
My topic was on who was the Carole Lombard of the silents (not Carole herself, though she made more than a few silents, but she never had a silent-era feature vehicle specifically designed for her talents). I made the argument for the long-neglected Constance Talmadge as the silent-era Lombard equivalent, though I suppose the same can be said of Colleen Moore (the foremost popularizer of the page boy 'do in the '20s, not Louise Brooks) or Marion Davies (whose comedies are largely available today, unlike Talmadge, Moore and even Clara Bow).

As for Bryce Harper, I still have faith he'll break out one year a la Willie Mays 1954 or Mickey Mantle 1956 and fulfill his vast potential. I only hope he does it in a Nationals uniform.
   20. Shredder Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4694192)
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Michael Keaton brought his A-game to the Pixar universe, and he basically got really disillusioned with acting in the 90s and scaled back to his rural Pennsylvanian roots.
Keaton gives a great interview. And his work in The Other Guys was tremendous.
   21. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4694200)
Now and forever, Badfinger is Antonio Alfonseca.
Strong. +1.
   22. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: April 25, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4694237)
Now and forever, Badfinger is Antonio Alfonseca.

I was thinking Nikki Sixx.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4694248)

Now and forever, Badfinger is Antonio Alfonseca.


Nope. Good thought, but Mordecai Brown got there first.
   24. TerpNats Posted: April 25, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4694249)
Not sure about this analogy (aside from the "finger"); has Alfonseca committed suicide?
   25. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: April 25, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4694429)
24. TerpNats Posted: April 25, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4694249)
Not sure about this analogy (aside from the "finger"); has Alfonseca committed suicide?


No, but many fans did after his outings.
   26. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: April 25, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4694430)
Harper/Gatorade = AWESOME AD.

The Gatorade spot is OK. It's the "Timeless" Fan Cave spot I have trouble with.

I like Harper a lot, and I wanted to like the "Timeless" ad, but...I just couldn't. Because people who look like Bryce Harper didn't exist in the 1920s, so he could hardly have been hanging out with Babe Ruth, right? Takes me out of the whole thing.

Judge for yourself.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: April 25, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4694453)
So the Cubs would be Alvin and the Chipmunks then? The Astros would be the Hibbing Middle School choir?
   28. Lindor Truffles Posted: April 25, 2014 at 05:30 PM (#4694472)
The hilarious thing (to me anyway) about Trout's Subway endorsement is that there is a sandwich chain literally named "Jersey Mike's", and they couldn't sign a deal with the biggest sports star on the planet who is both from New Jersey and named Mike.

Because despite their store growth, Jersey Mike's has next to no marketing budget. One of the two Chicago teams was courting them to be the sole provider of ballpark sandwiches for the 2014 season but JM couldn't make it happen financially. The $ figures thrown around were probably akin to what Trout gets from Subway/Dr's Associates. And they have to shell out for Phelps, RGIII, Blake Griffin, etc.

So now the Sox and Cubs both have Jimmy Johns ads.

   29. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 25, 2014 at 05:42 PM (#4694482)
Shouldn't we want Harper to have a season of being better than "pretty good" before we start comparing him to the Rolling Stones?
   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 25, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4694497)
So the Cubs would be Alvin and the Chipmunks then? The Astros would be the Hibbing Middle School choir?


Train and Maroon 5, respectively.
   31. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 25, 2014 at 06:23 PM (#4694513)
people who look like Bryce Harper didn't exist in the 1920s

Maybe not, but some of those old shots of House of David teams look startlingly modern.
   32. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:26 PM (#4694559)
Now and forever, Badfinger is Antonio Alfonseca.

Nope. Good thought, but Mordecai Brown got there first.


Mordecai Brown is Jerry Garcia. Or the Jackson Five after Michael went solo.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:38 PM (#4694562)
I think Harper will be just fine. He may not be Trout but then being the second best player in the entire game for a generation is a fine showing. He's still so young it is scary.


Machado is already better and not hyped as much. Although the injury might slow his numbers down this year.
   34. Morty Causa Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:03 PM (#4694605)
Trout is McCartney; Harper is Lennon. Trout is Chaplin; Harper is Keaton. Trout is Stanwyck; Harper is Bette Davis. Trout is Laurence Olivier; Harper is Peter Sellers. Trout is P. G. Wodehouse; Harper is Peter De Vries. Trout is Richard Wilbur; Harper is Bob Dylan. Trout is Squirrel; Harper is Moose.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4694609)
Harper is Lennon.


Why would you accuse Harper of being a women beater? (Save that for Bobby Cox)

   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:12 PM (#4694612)
Machado is already better and not hyped as much. Although the injury might slow his numbers down this year.

FYI Manny got 2 doubles and a triple in his first rehab game in Frederick tonight. He did have to DH, though, and he's taking it gradually and won't be back with the O's until the first week of May at the earliest.
   37. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 25, 2014 at 11:38 PM (#4694620)
Why would you accuse Harper of being a women beater? (Save that for Bobby Cox)

On Morty's list, you've got a dippy pothead, a pedophile, an alcoholic, a soft core nude model, a paranoid manic depressive, a Nazi collaborator, and a she-male. I'd say Harper is doing okay... except that he's apparently some of those other things, too.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: April 26, 2014 at 01:08 AM (#4694629)
Trout is yin; Harper is a no-hustling prima donna who bunts with two strikes.
   39. PreservedFish Posted: April 26, 2014 at 01:47 AM (#4694640)
Trout is bluefin tuna; Harper is trout.
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 26, 2014 at 07:06 AM (#4694652)
Trout's Larry Bird without the trash talking. Harper's Magic Johnson without the accomplishments.
   41. AndrewJ Posted: April 26, 2014 at 07:11 AM (#4694653)
Trout:Harper::1990s Simpsons:2010s Simpsons
   42. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: April 26, 2014 at 08:51 AM (#4694664)
Trout is McCartney; Harper is Lennon.

So, Machado is Harrison and Puig is Ringo?
   43. Morty Causa Posted: April 26, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4694693)
Machado is Stu Sutcliffe; Puig is Pete Best;

Trout is Atticus Finch; Harper is The Beak of the Finch

Trout is Trout Fishing in America; Harper is Jonathon Livingston Seagull.

Trout is The Right Stuff; Harper is The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby

   44. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 26, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4694798)
Trout is McCartney; Harper is Lennon.

Broxton is the walrus, goo goo g'joob.
   45. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4694817)
Deleted (upon further review, possibly in poor taste).
   46. Publius Publicola Posted: April 26, 2014 at 03:40 PM (#4694827)
Trout = Frazier, Harper = Ali.
   47. AndrewJ Posted: April 26, 2014 at 09:25 PM (#4695023)
Trout is Sondheim, Harper is Hamlisch.
   48. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 26, 2014 at 09:40 PM (#4695034)
Trout is Chang, Harper is Eng.
   49. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 26, 2014 at 09:43 PM (#4695036)
I'm fine with the comparison just so long as Harper's autopsy doesn't read "Straining at Stool."

Elvis has been out 2357 weeks with a strain?
   50. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 26, 2014 at 10:30 PM (#4695066)
Trout is Zeppo--Harper is Harpo
   51. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 26, 2014 at 11:30 PM (#4695097)
Trout = Frazier, Harper = Ali.

At least up through their first fight.
   52. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 26, 2014 at 11:34 PM (#4695099)
Trout is David St Hubbins. Harper is Stumpy Pepys

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