Bryce Harper's war paint
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.
ESPN.com'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.
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