Maybe we're just old-fashioned, but it seems kind of ridiculous for any baseball player to be compared to Jackie Robinson—let alone an 18-year-old white (!) minor league player who hasn't played a single Major League Baseball game. Yet, that's exactly who the Washington Nationals chose to compare their blue-chip prospect Bryce Harper to in a feature story that appears in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. They see him a player who, like Robinson, is living his life under a microscope as he tries to find his way to the major leagues.
"You have to go back to Jackie Robinson to find anybody who goes through this much scrutiny," says Nationals minor league coach Tony Tarasco. "It wasn't like this for [Nationals pitcher Stephen] Strasburg. Wasn't like this for Alex Rodriguez."
That opinion is shared by others in the organization, too. "This is really unfair and totally different, but if I can make a comparison to one guy who's been scrutinized like this, it's Jackie Robinson," says Doug Harris, the Nats' director of player development. "And it's unfair because it's a different standard. He was under a microscope in an era when we didn't have Internet, didn't have cell phones. Now, Jackie Robinson had his life threatened. I'm not comparing Bryce to that. But as far as non-stop scrutiny? Absolutely."
Yikes. Is that really the best comparison you guys could come up with? [via theScore]