Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals was recently voted the National League MVP in a unanimous vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
The 22-year-old becomes the fourth-youngest MVP in history, the youngest unanimous winner ever and the youngest to earn the title of MVP since Vida Blue in 1971. Harper’s extraordinary campaign in 2015 earned him an on-base percentage of .460, 42 home-runs and a .330 batting average. In addition, Harper is the first Nationals player to earn the MVP honor.
Harper, at the beginning of the season, set two goals. The first was to win the World Series with the Washington Nationals and his second goal was to earn the title of MVP for the National League. Well, hard work pays off. Harper said after winning the honorary title, “At the beginning of the year that was my goal, from Day 1. Absolutely to win a World Series and get to the playoffs, but No. 2 to be able to win an MVP and do the things I could to help my team win every single day.”
The newest MVP was praised by the Nationals President of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo, “There has never been a question about Bryce’s talent. It’s transcendent. And to watch him put together the type of historic season he did in 2015, at age 22, only heightens the excitement for what remains ahead of him. We are extremely proud.” Upon receiving the award, Harper was not shy of acknowledgement. He is very appreciative of the award and thanked his family and the sacrifices made by his parents on his behalf. Harper thanked a few of his Nationals teammates, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth, along with the former manager of the Nationals, Matt Williams. Harper said, “”Being able to have guys, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth, the two guys that pushed me all year, pushed me last year, have done things for me that I couldn’t imagine my teammates doing for me. I can’t thank them enough.”
In regards to the former Nationals manager, “Matt Williams helped me out every single day, with swinging, with approach. He was unbelievably smart with that process and I give him a lot of credit and just my whole team, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be in this spot, this situation and I give them a lot of credit.”
Harper continued to thank his peers, “Can’t thank Scott Boras, Mike Rizzo, Mr. Lerner [enough], for them just giving me the opportunity to play the game every single day and my fans in D.C., you guys are the best fans in the world, and I’m truly grateful for you guys, thank you so much.”
Despite these kind words, there are also many haters out there. At times, it may seem as though Harper is selfish, unsportsmanlike and rude. He may seem, during a game, only interested in his own personal stats and not the score of the game. On the contrary, as a baseball follower, I do not see him in the negative light. Harper is a hard worker who made every effort to work toward his goal of becoming the National League MVP. Through blood, sweat and tears, Harper accomplished his goal and the haters may hate…Harper is at the top.
Harper looks to work hard and keep improving during the off-season in preparation for Spring Training in early February, where he will begin the pursuit of another goal, a World Series Championship.