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SBD/July 10, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies
MLB's ASG Rosters Reflect Baseball's Growing Trend Toward Successful Young Players
Published July 10, 2012
TWO FOR THE SHOW: In K.C., Kent Babb notes as Jones and Yankees SS Derek Jeter "ease toward their careers’ twilight, Harper and Trout represent the next generation of baseball greatness." Harper and Trout "have a chance to emerge into stars at the same time, pushing each other toward becoming the young faces of their respective leagues." Babb writes, "This is the kind of thing that happens maybe once every 15 years: two players who arrive in the majors together, acting as their own kind of barometer because their contemporaries can’t keep up." Jones said that if all goes as expected, Harper and Trout "will soon carry their respective leagues' baton." Jones said, "These guys are going to be the face of baseball for the next 20 years, once Derek rides off into the sunset, A-Rod and Pujols. These are going to be the guys that are going to carry the torch" (K.C. STAR, 7/10). In Seattle, Larry Stone writes MLB is "salivating at the prospect of having two new, young, dynamic stars to carry the mantle that Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones, among others, are about to leave behind." In Harper and Trout, MLB has "a combo package almost too good to be true." Both are "charismatic and flashy," and both play the game "with old-school aggression" (SEATTLE TIMES, 7/10). MLB Network’s Kevin Millar said, “This is a new generation coming up. You’re looking at two superstars in Trout and Bryce Harper that are young position players we haven’t seen in awhile. ... You’ve got this new generation that’s coming in." MLB Network's Chris Rose: “Big picture, it’s better for the sport that a kid like Bryce Harper is here" ("Intentional Talk," MLB Network, 7/9). ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian said of Harper, "Let’s not underestimate what he has done for a first-place team in Washington. I can tell you he has energized that team.” Kurkjian added, “It’s not like they just put him on (the All-Star team), ‘Hey, he’s a really good story.’ This guy’s had a really good first half of the year.” ESPN’s Aaron Boone said Trout “is as dynamic a player that’s come to the Major Leagues in a long time." Boone: "For me, absolutely the American League MVP so far this season” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 7/10).
THE CHOSEN ONE: USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale in a front-page piece writes, "Superstardom seemed to be Harper's destiny," and he has "taken the first few steps toward fulfilling that." In a sport that "lacks a LeBron James or a Tim Tebow, Harper comes closest to establishing a cult of personality that helps the sport penetrate demographics as disparate as Deadspin or 'SportsCenter.'" Nationals 2B Mark DeRosa said, "What he's done, nobody in baseball has ever done. His story is absolutely amazing" (USA TODAY, 7/10). In Oakland, Monte Poole writes, "It's refreshing to see Harper now being rewarded with an invitation to join" the NL All-Star team. He "was not the most deserving choice" to replace injured Marlins RF Giancarlo Stanton, but "none of the other candidates is more captivating." MLB typically is "slow to acknowledge its truly phenomenal youngsters, much less capitalize on them." Having Harper "among the festivities is indicative of the sport realizing not only is this an exhibition with stakes but also a showcase event." NL manager Tony La Russa said, "It's been really good for our game to see Trout and Harper come into the game." Poole writes, "They're good players, yes, but including Harper and Trout is indicative of the kind of marketing genius that usually eludes MLB" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/10).