He’s not of legal drinking age until October, and is only starting his sophomore season as a pro, but on the cover of the new issue of Sports Illustrated, Bryce Harper looks the very picture of a confident, cocky, and grown-up man. In fact, with the monuments as a background and a bat slung over his back, he looks like he owns the city.
The cover question is, “What does Bryce Harper have in mind for his encore?” Inside he bats away any bad sophomore juju: “Sophomore slump? I was a sophomore in college and raked. Why can’t you rake in the big leagues?”
Given he turns 21 on October 16, we might suggest the playoffs, again, as a starter celebration. A dandy combined birthday present for him and going-away present for manager Davey Johnson (who said this is his last year in the majors) might be the supreme October delight: the World Series.
For now, Harper can relish that he shares a meaningful distinction with his Nats teammate Stephen Strasburg and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III—according to the DC Sports Bog they are the only Washington athletes to make the cover of SI in the past three years.