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Bryce Harper on Nationals: ‘People want to see us fail’

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Bryce Harper is refusing to back-off his bold statements in which he more or less stated that the Washington Nationals are not only World Series contenders, the team should be considered the favorites.

“I was like, ‘Where’s my ring?’” was Harper’s apparent reaction to learning the Nationals signed Max Scherzer.

The young, brash Nationals superstar took it a step further, guaranteeing that he’ll deliver a championship to Washington D.C.

“Like I said before, five years ago when I first signed here: I’m going to bring back a title to D.C. no matter what,” Harper boldly proclaimed. “And I’m getting chills thinking about it.”

Harper has been provided a couple of chances to back down from his statements and each time he has refused to do so, instead assuring people it’s not cockiness or arrogance that motivates him … it’s his steadfast belief that the Nats are that good.

“I just have confidence in my team, in our ability,” Harper told Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller. “If you look at it, I don’t say it arrogantly. It’s genuine, how I feel about my team. People don’t have confidence in our team. I mean, they do, but the average person is going to look at it and say, ‘We hate the Nationals. We hope they don’t play well, blah, blah, blah.’

“You’ve got to have the confidence you need coming in because everybody in this league wants to beat us. We’ve got to have that confidence of wanting to win and doing the things we need to do to get us a ring, get a title. That’s how it is.”

Harper essentially said the exact same thing on Thursday during a radio interview, adding that he believes every other team hates on the Nationals.

“You know, I say the things I say because I have confidence in my team,” Harper said during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. “I have confidence in their ability to go out there and play every single night. And some people don’t have confidence in us, so we’ve got to have all the confidence in the world. We’ve got to have that chip on our shoulder going out there, because people want to see us fail. Other teams want to see us fail. And that’s just baseball. That’s just how it is.”

It’s clear that Harper has complete and utter faith in the talent of his teammates and believes the Nationals have what it takes to win a title. But for the team to take the next step, Harper is going to have to improve himself. His 2014 stats — .273/.344/.423/.768, 13 HR, 32 RBI in 100 games — simply aren’t going to cut it if Harper wants to make good on all the promises and bold proclamations he’s been making.

And given that the Nationals have been eliminated early both times the team has reached the postseason (2012, 2014), perhaps winning a playoff series first would be a good start.

[H/T D.C. Sports Bog, photo credit: The Washington Post/Getty]

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