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Though Willis in every conceivable way was more deserving of being an All Star in '03 than Harper is in 2012, having Harper among the festivities is indicative of the sport realizing not Nike Jacket For Man

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Nike Jacket Therma Fit

Nike Jacket Therma Fit

Baseball has its rules, and they're often hidden or unwritten within other rules. If the sport ignores them and lets Harper take his hacks, it would indicate evolution. It would be a welcome sight, in harmony with our times.

Harper is among the All Stars because he's a talented player with a unique back story and a revelation to watch.

Can there be a moment Tuesday more riveting than Harper in the batter's box?

MLB typically is slow to acknowledge its truly phenomenal youngsters, Nike Jackets Cost

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Adding phenom Bryce Harper to All

So continues the relentless and urgent promotion of the young Nike Jacket Therma Fit man identified three years ago, through a Sports Illustrated cover story, as baseball's "Chosen One."

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Nike Jacket Therma Fit

Nike Jacket Therma Fit

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) holds his All Star jersey during a ceremony before a baseball game with the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, July 8, 2012, in Washington. Harper was named to the All Star game on Saturday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)Our natural fascination with objects, especially brilliant and new, has intensified in the digital age, compelling us to chase gadgets and line up overnight for the next iPhone or the newest Air Jordan model.

It's slightly more captivating than the inclusion of Angels outfielder Mike Trout, 20, who is having a better season. manager Tony La Russa, likely with input from his coaches and MLB, made the right call on Harper, who replaces Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton. It's the right call, even if it means Miami is not represented. It's the right call for baseball.

Each team gets a roster of 34, and he surely is among the 68 most captivating players in baseball. His blend of power and speed are electrifying, and the Mohawk haircut sets him apart. The mascara/war paint stuff on his face really sets him apart.

That designation, and certain parts of the story notably about Harper leaving high school after his sophomore year to accelerate his professional development seemed to reveal a calculated grooming similar to that which former Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich barely survived.

Harper's numbers are not spectacular: .282 batting average (.354 OBP, .472 slugging), eight home runs, 25 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. He exhibits signs of insolence, of being both puckish and pugnacious. But he plays in double overdrive. He's excellent theater, as Tim Lincecum was in 2008, as Willis was in 2003.

much less capitalize on them. manager Dusty Baker. Never mind his 9 1 record, his 2.08 ERA or consistently rising demand for Nike Running Jackets Womens

Willis eventually was added to the team, chosen by Baker as an injury replacement.

It's the way of the game, we're told. Youngsters must "earn their way.'' Meanwhile, they have to buy snacks and carry bags, even for veterans with half the fan appeal.

They're good players, yes, but including Harper and Trout is indicative of the kind of marketing genius that usually eludes MLB.

"It'd be nice to put our National League young phenom against an American League phenom (Trout), because they've been exciting our baseball world," La Russa told reporters in Kansas City on Monday afternoon. "It's been really good for our game to see Trout and Harper come into the game."

tickets to watch the Encinal High product put on a show.

Sending Bryce Harper to baseball's All Star game, then, is perfectly appropriate.

He's 19 years old. He has been in the major leagues for 2 months, long enough for all of 248 at bats. And the Washington Nationals outfielder was invited, as an injury replacement, to join the likes of Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Justin Verlander and Josh Hamilton this week in Kansas City, Mo.

only is this an exhibition with stakes but also a showcase event.

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Ron Harper's son was 16 and being hot housed, to his apparent delight, toward an arena of men. All Star team. He was not the most deserving choice as a replacement, but none of the other candidates is more captivating.

Neither Lincecum nor Willis appeared in their first games (though Lincecum might have had he not been ill). Fans clamored for both and got neither. Have MLB and its guardians, and La Russa qualifies, learned enough to avoid making that mistake?

And this opinion comes from the guy who three years ago wrote a column expressing discomfort with Harper's path. It put me firmly on one side of the debate, leading to an appearance on an ESPN investigative report discussing the unorthodox approach being employed by the Harpers.

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