When the Washington Nationals hired Dusty Baker as their new manager this offseason, they did so hoping he could guide the franchise to its first ever World Series championship.
Now. less than one week into spring training, they’re probably just hoping he’ll learn and remember the name of their franchise player and the National League’s reigning MVP, Bryce Harper.
According to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, remembering Harper’s name has been a challenge for Baker so far. On two occasions she’s aware of, Baker changed Harper’s first name from Bryce to “Royce,” leaving members of the media to scratch their heads.
Bizarre, isn’t it?
Over the weekend we learned that Hall of Famer Willie Mays misunderstood the name of new San Francisco Giants outfielder Denard Span, continuously calling him “Bernard” during conversations. But that’s Wille Mays and Denard Span. Mays is there to share experiences and wisdom, not manage the team. And while Span is a known entity around baseball circles, he may not have appeared on Mays’ radar prior to the Giants signing him.
In this instance, it’s Dusty Baker, the man tasked with guiding Washington to the promise land. And this is also Bryce Harper, one of the very best players in baseball. Learning his name shouldn’t be an issue.
So what are the possible explanations for Baker not knowing Bryce from Royce?
That could suffice. Then again, how many people don’t know any Bryce’s in their daily life but do know who Bryce Harper is? Quite a few we’d say, including even the most casual of baseball fans and even some who don’t follow baseball at all.
Another idea is that Baker’s just ribbing Harper in a playful manner and everyone on the inside is in on the joke. That is entirely possible, as Baker might see it as something the team can bond over and have fun with. That’s the explanation Nationals’ fans should be rooting for, but we honestly don’t know if it’s true.
Whatever the case, we do know that Royce Harper is certain to have a short shelf life at Nationals camp. There’s only room for one Harper there, and everybody not named Dusty most certainly knows his name.
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