Knightly Banter: Bryce Harper


By Paul Evers and Wyatt Dojutrek, sports editor and online sports editor
Over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs walked Washington Nationals’ star Bryce Harper a total of 13 times over a four game series, setting an MLB record. Since then, many current and former players; along with the media, have weighed in on the Cubs strategy against Harper. Is the strategy acceptable in the sports of baseball, or if it should be seen as cowardly? And with the NBA playoffs in full swing, players and analysts alike have put their opinions in for the debate on the “hack-a-Shaq” strategy in the NBA. The question that needs to be answered is, should rules be created to protect the spirit of the game?  Knightly Banter’s Paul Evers and Wyatt Dojutrek weigh in.
Paul Evers: The fact that we are even bringing up this question shows how media driven leagues have become. Intentional walks have existed forever in baseball. Anyone remember all-time walks leader Barry Bonds, who amassed 2,558 bases on balls in his career? He also has the most home runs in MLB history and was the face of the league in the early 2000’s. So why all the complaining now? The goal of sports is to win at all costs, and that shouldn’t change because people are outraged that Bryce Harper can’t hit because the Cubs chose to walk him. One sports analyst, Skip Bayless, made a comment on EPSN’s First Take saying that what gets people through the gates at a baseball game is Bryce Harper. I immediately screamed at that notion — the thing that gets people through the gates at Wrigley Field is the Cubs winning. If the Cubs have to win four consecutive games against the Nationals by walking Harper 13 times, then that’s what they have to do. This same idea would apply in any other stadium in the MLB. This would also apply to NBA stadiums. If an NBA team has to win by fouling DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond or Dwight Howard a bunch of times, let them. The leagues should not have to implement rules to protect the spirit of their sports, such as eliminating the intentional foul in the NBA like some have proposed. If fans are really upset with something like this, they aren’t fans that appreciate the coaches using the rules to their full advantage and win. Winning is what coaches and managers are paid to do.
Wyatt Dojutrek: In my opinion, Bryce Harper is the best player in the world. What he does for the Washington Nationals is just unbelievable. I think what the Cubs did is acceptable because everyone knows what Bryce Harper can do to even the best pitchers like Jake Arrieta. And after Bryce Harper was walked, the next batter in the lineup was Ryan Zimmerman who won two Silver Slugger Awards in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Zimmerman maybe 31 years old but he can still be a productive player for Dusty Baker. He left an MLB record 14 men on base in one game, which is two more than the previous record held by such players as Big Papi and Todd Helton. So the Cubs decision was a good one made by Joe Maddon. And for the hack-a-shaq rule, if you know that a player like DeAndre Jordan cannot make a 15 foot shot with no one on them, then foul away.
Any comments on this blog or suggestions for future blogs? Tweet us!