Bryce HarperOutfielder, Washington Nationals
Since the Washington Nationals arrived in 2005, one sportswriter after another has tried to make the case that Washingtonians don’t care about baseball. But the excitement that took hold during the Nats’ stellar 2012 season proved that Washington truly loves the team. And 20-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper, the National League’s 2012 Rookie of the Year, is a big part of the reason.
With 98 runs last season, Harper scored more than any of his teammates and was the National League’s fifth-highest scorer. Washington is now, in the words of Nats principal owner Mark Lerner, “a baseball town with ‘Natitude.’ ”