There's probably no position player in major league baseball — maybe ever — who can truly understand the hype that Washington Nationals 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper has encountered on a daily basis. But Orioles catcher Matt Wieters might come the closest — or at least be the best-equipped big league hitter to offer a little wisdom in dealing with unreal anticipation. "My advice would be just to be himself. I think the hardest thing is trying to worry about living up to expectations of other people," said Wieters, the fifth pick overall in the 2007 draft and a first-time All-Star last year at age 25. "[Harper] has been a good player for long enough, so he knows what kind of player he can be. He can't worry about checking out what the blogs are saying about you, what the sports pages are saying about you. "It's going to be great things, especially at first. But there's also going to be some negative press that comes out," Wieters added. "And the big thing is you can't worry about that, positive or negative. That's how you are going to be able to play your best." Wieters, like Harper, was ticketed for stardom before he was drafted, zipped through the minor leagues and joined the majors to amazing hoopla. Wieters, however, arrived in pro baseball after his junior year at Georgia Tech, not after one year in junior college at age 17 as Harper did. And they've both graced the cover of Sports Illustrated — Wieters was 23 in March 15, 2010, when the magazine pronounced him "The Perfect Catch." Harper, incredibly, was 16 on June 8, 2009, when he was coined, "Baseball's Chosen One."
Wieters advises Nationals' Harper to 'just be himself'
Baltimore Sun | May 20