At age 16, Sports Illustrated put him on its cover and labeled him "Baseball's Chosen One." At age 17, the Washington Nationals selected him with the first pick in the MLB Draft. And at age 19, Bryce Harper lived up to the hype and won the NL Rookie of the Year award by putting together one of the greatest seasons by a teenager in baseball history and leading the Nationals to the Postseason.
Through it all, camera crews were with him behind the scenes to capture his journey in an unprecedented way. "Bryce Begins," a one-hour special documenting Harper's journey from a teenager through the present day, will debut Tuesday, April 30 at 9:00pm ET on ESPN. A collaboration between Major League Baseball Productions and 3 Penny Films, "Bryce Begins" features extensive behind the scenes access with Harper and his family and rare footage from the years leading up to his Major League debut. The film also features new interviews with Harper, his father Ron Harper, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo and Director of Player Development Doug Harris, Nationals teammate Ryan Zimmerman, Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., Harper's agent Scott Boras, reporters Will Leitch and Tom Verducci, Harper's high school baseball coach Sam Thomas and 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, among many others.
"Few players have ever experienced as much media scrutiny and hype at such an early age as Bryce Harper, and we're fortunate to have this kind of access to chronicle his path to becoming one of MLB's rising stars," said Chris Tully, Senior Vice President, Broadcasting, Major League Baseball. "While many projects look back on a career once it's complete, this film tells a compelling story of a star player's experiences at the start of his career, as it's happening."
Jess Atkinson of 3 Penny Films said, "We could not be more proud of this film and appreciative for all of the time and access we received from Bryce and his family. He is a remarkable young man and his journey over the last 18 months has been extraordinary. 'Bryce Begins' isn't just a look into Bryce's first season in the Major Leagues but also an examination of the pressure and scrutiny that professional athletes perform under in this day and age. Working with Major League Baseball Productions and the Harper family was a thrill and an enormous opportunity for all of us at 3 Penny Films and we are grateful."
Harper and the Nationals will be featured on ESPN twice this week in addition to the film, Monday night and Wednesday night vs. the Atlanta Braves, with both games beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET.