Michael Jordan once said, "If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it."
Last week, Bryce Harper ran into the outfield wall at Dodgers Stadium, jammed his left shoulder and received a cut on his chin that required 11 stitches to close. So when faced with a similar situation Tuesday against the Giants, Harper had his chance to climb the wall, go through it or work around it.
He didn't do any of those things. Sound advice, MJ.
With the Nationals leading 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Gregor Blanco smoked a two-strike, two-out triple to right-center field. Harper went back to track the ball, but flinched in pursuit, allowing Blanco to slide safely into third.
As you can see, Harper braces himself for impact pretty far from the wall.
OK, really far.
Blanco didn't score, but Pablo Sandoval's two-run walkoff home run in the 10th sent the Nationals to a 4-2 loss, their fourth consecutive defeat.
After the game, Harper admitted that last week's incident crept into his mind as he was running for Blanco's ball.
“I don’t want to hit the frickin’ wall full-on,” Harper told reporters. “Of course that crosses your mind after you jam into a wall. It doesn’t really feel very good. It [stinks] that I couldn’t make the play. I totally put that loss on me."
Apparently, Rafael Soriano, who allowed the triple, agreed with Harper's assessment, "dissing" the 20-year-old.
"With two outs and the tying run at first, you have to play the outfield so the ball doesn't go over your head,'' Soriano told reporters in Spanish. "It may not have been a catchable ball, but if we're positioned the right way, there might have been a different outcome. With two outs, I could tell my four-year-old son, 'You know where you need to play,' and he would go to the right spot to make the play. It's not an excuse, and I'm not speaking badly about anybody, but I think that's how you play the game."
Harper was so hard on himself that he said that he's "going to be in Triple A" if he doesn't overcome his newfound fear. Relax, kid. You're not going to be demoted.
Just stop running into things.
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.