Bryce Harper wants MLB to make big change in response to WBC
The 2023 World Baseball Classic has been a success and attracted a lot of attention across the baseball world. That has Bryce Harper thinking big.
Harper, who was slated to play for Team USA before withdrawing due to injury, now wants to see baseball return as an Olympic sport, with active MLB players taking part.
“I’ve been a huge advocate of baseball getting back in the Olympics and us [in MLB] taking that pause during the regular season, kind of like hockey does, to just let the guys go and play,” Harper told Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’d be so much fun to have that and have the game and see that in the Olympics and have the best players in the world doing it.”
Harper acknowledged that even if this happened and MLB offered players a midseason break to participate, getting some to take part would be a big challenge.
“That’s the toughest component, really trying to get guys and their organizations to let them do it,” Harper acknowledged. “Even if you try to go with young minor league guys, it’s really tough for organizations to be like, ‘Hey, you’re our top dog. Go ahead and go pitch.’ And then [Zack Wheeler] and [Aaron Nola], guys like that, you think about your free-agent years, you think about not being insured. It gets to the point where it’s like, ‘Man, it isn’t worth it for me and my family to do this.’”
Harper’s idea is an intriguing one, albeit unlikely. Baseball was dropped as an Olympic sport in 2008 save for a brief return at Tokyo 2020. Without MLB players participating, its return to the Olympics is essentially a non-starter.
Ultimately, Harper might have to settle for adopting the suggestion one of his former teammates had regarding the WBC.