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Bryce Harper: "The Justin Bieber of Baseball"

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Bryce Harper: "Justin Bieber of Baseball"

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The headline may be a bit deceiving (you have to be sucked in somehow), but the comparison that MLB Network's Harold Reynolds makes between Washington Nationals prospect/phenom Bryce Harper and international pop sensation Justin Bieber is a valid one.

"A lot of people did discover you on the internet," Reynolds said to Harper, noting that Bieber's rise to fame started on YouTube as well.

"I think the generation coming up, there's a lot of media, social media, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, everything like that," Harper said in response. "Everybody's gonna see everything that you do. Sometimes, it's a good thing and sometimes, it's a bad thing."

Some of Harper's most notorious moments have been broadcast to the world because of the internet, but in this interview with MLB Network, Harper shows that there is a more grounded, confident side to him to coincide with his cocksure attitude, while Reynolds puts on his Dr. Phil hat (video courtesy of MLB.com; original story on Nats Enquirer).

On his work ethic and attitude on the field:

"I really do play the game right. I play it hard, I play it fast. I am cocky out there. I think everyone on the field's cocky. I think you have to be. If you want to be good and you want to be great, you have that confidence and that swagger to play."

On whether or not he feels like he will ever live up to the expectations set up for him:

"My expectations for myself are bigger than anybody else's, I think. I could care less what he says or she says or that guy says. I know my expectations are higher than that."

On his plan for the upcoming season:

"I want to go up [to Washington] and be a game changer. I don't wanna go from big leagues, Triple-A, up to the big leagues back to Triple-A again. I want to go up there, stay there, be a game changer, play hard, try to win that rookie of the year."

On steroids and performance-enhancing drugs:

"I'm as natural as it gets. You can test me today, tomorrow, the next day. 10 years, you know. I ain't got nothing in me. There's nothing."

The most interesting part of the interview came at the end when Bryce worked with his father, Ron, on a hitting drill that they have been doing together since Bryce started playing. Afterward, Reynolds praised Bryce for his work ethic and hitting ability, comparing him to young versions of Ken Griffey, Jr. -- who Reynolds played with during his days with the Seattle Mariners -- and Alex Rodriguez, who came up later with the Mariners. Before Reynolds could finish, however, Ron interrupted.

"Just don't let that go to your head," he said. "Keep working. Because those guys made it. You ain't yet."

"Never Say Never," Bryce. And now, like one of many future home run trots around Nationals Park, the comparison between Harper and Bieber has come full circle.


Adam Vingan is co-founder and editor of Kings Of Leonsis, a Caps-centric blog, and is the Capitals Editor for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_KOL and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

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