Bryce Harper benched for being Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals All-Star Bryce Harper has shown he’s more than willing to run his cranium full speed into the Dodgers Stadium out-of-town scoreboard, but not so much when it comes to running to first base on a groundout. Harper dogged it in yesterday’s 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals and was benched because of it. Harper was removed from the game in the sixth inning and replaced with Kevin Frandsen.

When asked about the move, manager Matt Williams told reporters after the game that Harper’s “inability to run 90 feet” was the reason for the benching. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo later told reporters that he agreed with the decision.

Have they forgotten who Harper is? Anyone employing the baseball talents of Bryce Harper had better get used to him taking plays off. Anyone who remembers his time here in Hagerstown knows that Harper often lacks dedication. That’s putting it nicely.

If the Nationals wanted a player who always played hard and played with hustle, they should have taken a pass on Harper and instead drafted Manny Machado. The Nats had the first pick in the 2010 MLB Draft and the selected high school dropout Bryce Harper. The Baltimore Orioles had the third pick, and they drafted Manny Machado.

The Nationals should have drafted Machado.

Nationals Park leaves a lot to be desired

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Sheri and I went down to Washington D.C. yesterday to see the Baltimore Orioles play the Washington Nationals. We wanted to go to a Nats game last year to check out the new ballpark, but just never got around to it.

I wasn’t impressed. It’s by far the worst ballpark I’ve very been to.

Granted, it’s better than the old RFK stadium, but not by much. The only real difference is that it doesn’t look like it’s about to fall down.

When they put the seats in, they really packed them in. There’s very little leg room at Nationals Stadium. Compounding the problem is the fact that each seat has not one, but two cup holders attached to the back. I couldn’t find a way to sit without one of these cup holders jammed into each knee.  Because of this lack of leg room, every time someone in your row needs to get up, everyone must stand up to let them pass. When people in the row in front of you do this, it’s impossible to see the game. It’s distracting no matter how many rows in front of you people are sitting. It’s like people are constantly doing the wave.

Also making it difficult to see the game are the vast amount of men selling food and drinks. They constantly walk up and down the steps shouting that they have $7.50 beer or $4.50 water. It’s nonstop and it’s very annoying. I was sitting at the end of the row so I constantly had someone near me yelling that they had overpriced food or drink to sell.

We rode the metro subway to the game and I’m glad we did. Parking near the ballpark was quite expensive. I saw a sign for $25 parking, but we walked past a dirt lot that was charging $40 to park. People were parking there, so I had to think the $25 lot was filled or close to being filled.

That’s a lot of money to park on dirt.

Outside the ballpark is really quite barren. I guess I’m spoiled with going to Orioles games at Camden Yards at Orioles Park. I didn’t see any shops, bars, or restaurants near this ballpark. It appears they built the stadium around a bunch of office buildings. There was nobody selling food or drinks outside the ballpark. If you want something to eat or drink, you have to buy it inside the stadium.

We bought two hot dogs, two orders of fries, and two bottles of water for $29. They didn’t even have paper trays or holders for the food. They also take the cap off the bottles of water before selling them to you. I normally put the cap back on my bottle when I’m not drinking it. I don’t know why they do this. I thought it might be so that you can’t throw a bottle of water onto the field, but Sheri read on the Nationals website that they allow each visitor to bring in one (1) bottle of water as long as it still has it’s factory seal.

I don’t think we’ll be going back the Nationals Park anytime soon.