VIERA, Fla. - No one can say the Nationals aren't displaying a wicked sense of humor as full-squad workouts commence at Space Coast Stadium.
Top prospect Bryce Harper arrived at the clubhouse Saturday morning to find he'd been a victim of a well-played prank. Instead of the nameplate above his locker stall reading, "Bryce Harper 34," as it did when he left after Friday's workouts, it read, "Joe Namath 12," with the appropriate Nationals curly W logo to the left and the Major League Baseball shadowed-batter logo to the right.
The rib was a reference to Harper's comments several weeks ago in an MLB.com story that he wanted to emulate former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, a boastful and flamboyant character who enjoyed the nightlife that came with celebrity and usually backed up his promises of success.
Harper smiled and chucked softly every time someone pointed out his new moniker, and teammate Brad Lidge got into the fun by yelling, "Broadway Joe in the house!" across the clubhouse.