WASHINGTON -- On Monday, when Bryce Harper posted an Instagram picture with the 100 emoji on the handle of his bat, folks jumped to conclusions.
The thinking was that Harper, ever the fun-haver and savvy self-promoter, started rocking the 100's as a nod to the fact that next time he goes deep, it’ll be his 100th career homer, making him the eighth youngest player in MLB history to reach the century mark. According to Harper though, his new decals having nothing to do with the fact that he currently sits at 99 homers.
“It has nothing to do with the hundred homers at all,” said Harper before the Washington Nationals' game on Wednesday against the Atlanta Braves. “It's just my favorite emoji, so I thought I'd put it on the bat.”
He’s got some other ones that he’s planning on using too.
“I’ll probably get a thumb up, and maybe a knuckles one. I just thought it would be funny to put some emojis on my bat.”
Emojis or not, MLB doesn’t seem to think bat decals are funny. This past offseason, the league put a ban on personalized stickers, forbidding players from using anything other than their team logo or their number on their bat handles during game action.
For what it’s worth, Harper doesn’t seem to give a (bat) flip about incurring the wrath of the league.
“I don't even know the rules,” said the reigning MVP. “Don't really care.”
One thing Harper does care about is who among his peers has -- er, had -- the coolest stickers. He says that his favorite decals belonged to San Francisco’s Matt Duffy, whose decal featured Duffman from “The Simpsons,” and Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, whose sticker depicted a silhouette of his swing.
“It’s probably the prettiest swing in the game,” said Harper. “So that was pretty cool.”