By Nick Ashooh
Bryce Harper has made it clear that he won't talk about his future beyond this season.
Good luck Bryce.
In the history of sports, every superstar that's had a big decision about their future to make, has been bombarded by the same topic over and over. It'll be no different with him
"If you guys do talk about anything about that, I'll be walking right out the door" is what Harper said to the media.
When you put yourself in the spotlight, want to be the face of baseball, or try to start the "Make Baseball Fun Again" campaign, this is part of the gig. Just like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kirk Cousins, and any other name that's been in a similar position, the questions don't subside, they only multiply.
People care about what your future is, and you have to understand that as a star athlete.
Harper can't get frustrated with it this year. He can't walk out. He can't get angry. He has to prepare for the possibility that every city he visits, some baseball reporter will want their moment to ask him about his plans, knowing he won't say anything beyond an eye roll or a deep breath.
Some might even try to bait him into some kind of viral rant, and making that become the story.
He needs to prepare now. Come up with a canned Bill Belichick mumble-answer. Use a corny joke. Whatever makes him happy, but he just can't let this get under his skin.
Harper's focus should be baseball, yes, but he also has to make sure this isn't a frustrating distraction.
The Nationals also need to worry about proving they're a place he can win a World Series in the future, or hey, here's a novel idea, just win one this year.
Let's also look at the big picture. The real focus the Nationals should have is locking up Mike Rizzo long-term, one of the best executives in the game.
If Harper leaves, that $45 million a season can be used on a ton of other talent that Rizzo and his staff have already proven they can identify.
If they had to choose one (which they don't, but work with me here) Rizzo is the guy that's more important to the Nationals' future. They've been able to overcome tons of Harper injuries, and still win, a lot.
Rizzo built this thing from a shack, to a mansion, and he can find ways to replace Harper in the future.
We'd all love to have Harper in DC beyond this year. We'd much rather though, have a team that can compete for a World Series for the next decade, and has room to continue to grow, even if Bryce isn't a part of the picture.