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Bryce Harper's war paint

(By Isaac Brekken - AP)

Bryce Harper's elaborate stylized eye black choices have received plenty of attention in recent days. Yahoo's Jeff Passan tied it to Harper's immaturity, writing that "these are the flourishes, of course, of which Harper must rid himself [before] he debuts in the major leagues" and that "the Ultimate Warrior look will go, as will the lip."

Scrutiny rides shotgun with the sort of hype that ensconces Harper, and the last thing he needs is to invite more, whether via a bat drawing a line in the dirt or turning functional black grease into a decorative attention magnet.'s Paul Lukas acknowledged that football player's like Chris Hovan have used plenty of the black smears, but argued "if we restrict our analysis the baseball diamond, where eye black protocol tends to be more conservative, Harper is clearly the king."

It remains to be seen whether he'll maintain this style as a professional, or if the hype surrounding him will lead to a new generation of war-painted ballplayers, but gazillion dollar contracts do tend to give trends a bit more momentum.

Well, that Harper trend appears to be over. Mike Rizzo's answer was a curt "no" when asked if Harper would be allowed to paint himself.

(Though Rizzo did put to rest the character questions, saying "Between the lines, he's going 110 miles all the time. He's a baseball rat. I love the way he gets after it." Only in sports is "rat" seen as a strong character reference.)

Anyhow, don't mourn the lost style. The fourth-ranked Battlefield softball team was featured in Tuesday's Post -- one of their players is giving up modeling for sport -- and I was happy to see their faces painted just so. D.C.'s Ultimate Warrior fix will be satisfied.

(By Tracy A. Woodward - TWP)

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 8, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Nats  
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Next: Bob Costas: Strasburg debut "has no precedent"


Anyone lined up at the gate yet Steinz?

Posted by: dustinmfox1 | June 8, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Much ado about nothing.

Posted by: StuScott_Booyahs | June 8, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

IF there was a legit reason for it to him, let him do it.

Posted by: alex35332 | June 8, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Those Bobcats are hot

Posted by: fushezzi | June 8, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Harper looks like Gene Simmons from Kiss with his eyeblack like that.

Posted by: ouij | June 8, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

telling him no would be dumb. you could build a massive marketing campaign around it, if he's anything close to expectations.

I'd suggest he cut back until he progresses more and is ready for the majors. but I'd not restrict it once up. Why? Just because it shows up other less marketing savvy players? The guy has a hook that isn't offensive, and you could easily look ahead to the prospect of sections full of fans with the paint on their cheeks. Groupies galore!

Posted by: Rogueone | June 8, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I like it.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 8, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the West Springfield, Va. Spartans in the Post's own photo the other day:

The West Springfield players celebrate by piling on one another after winning their eighth region title.

How is that they worry about spoiling the "purity" of a game with "war paint" where most of the players spend half the game spitting and "hawking loogies", blowing bubble gum bubbles and dripping chewing tobacco (still, in spite of the mouth cancer warnings). Truly the MLB Etiquette Police have misplaced priorities. :D

Posted by: blackjack65 | June 8, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about his face paint? Up until a few years ago no one wore the extremely flat brimmed hats in the pros like they did in college, and now look? Every young player coming out wears one. And guys in college and high school baseball have been wearing eye black in that manner for over a decade. Get over it.

Posted by: cperk7 | June 8, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

blackjack, you forgot, um, adjusting their protective equipment.

I second cperk re. cap and eyeblack trends among young players. Not unique to this young man.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 8, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Steinberg gets paid for his "columns." I think the average talkback takes more time than his "bog."

Posted by: nativedc | June 8, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about the face paint those softball chicks are hot.

Posted by: efdelaney | June 8, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

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