After signing a record deal to join the Philadelphia Phillies in free agency, Bryce Harper has struggled this spring. But Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, a Phillies legend who had his own fair share of struggles during his career, sees nothing but success in his future.
Speaking about Harper, and what he might face in the tough sports town of Philadelphia, Schmidt made it clear he expects big things from the 26-year-old superstar.
“He won’t have a problem because he’s all the things they want in a player,” Schmidt said, per Matt Breen of Philly.com. “He doesn’t do anything that they won’t like. He’ll run into walls for you. He’ll sign autographs for you. He’ll talk to the media. He’ll say the right things in the clubhouse. Surely, he’ll strike out with the bases loaded every now and then. He’ll do that. He might slip into a slump and catch a few boos now and then. But I’m in the Hall of Fame and I got booed more than anybody. It’s all part of it. The passion of the Philadelphia fan.”
Schmidt also said that Harper won’t face the same issues he did while playing for the Phillies, saying the former Washington Nationals star has the “it factor” and “understands pressure and knows how to handle it.”
On the topic of money, Schmidt (once the league’s highest-paid player himself) said the Phillies wouldn’t have given him such a massive deal if they didn’t have confidence Harper was molded and wired to handle the spotlight.
Finally, Schmidt praised Harper’s down-to-earth attitude and said he’s a good teammate.
“When you hear him talk or meet him, you find that he’s not the cocky guy that you thought he might be,” Schmidt said. “He’s more of a down-to-earth guy. Knows how to win. Knows how to communicate with his teammates. He adds a lot to a club and adds a lot to what we need in Philadelphia.”
The expectations facing Harper are immense. He’s not only the biggest MLB star in Philly right now, but he hopes to lure other big stars to the city in future years. Now it’s time to make all the dreams come to fruition in reality.