Posted March 19, 2012 07:13 pm

So what if he's only 19

Washington's top prospect Bryce Harper was hitting .286 this spring before being demoted to Triple-A Syracuse. The former No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft was told he was going down to work on playing center field, the position the Nationals have told him he will play when he is promoted, presumably later this year.

When people ask me what my favorite sport is, it takes no time for me to say baseball. But when I am asked how do I like the game's current state or what do I think of a certain player, memory always takes me back to the days when coaches and managers ruled the show with an iron fist.

When so-called Washington Nationals star in the making Bryce Harper, 19, was demoted over the weekend, one of the first things veteran manager Davey Johnson told The Associated Press “The timing to me just wasn’t quite right. It’s close. Real close. I’d like to have his bat in this lineup, I’ve made no secret of that. As far as I’m concerned, he doesn’t really need to work on a whole lot.”

So why demote him? If you believe he's that close why not throw the kid into the fire and give him some on-the-job training?

Some have questioned his work ethic and maturity, others are announcing him the final piece of the championship puzzle. Me, I say bring him up and get him started. After all, the past two 19-year-olds I saw reach the bigs, did OK for themselves.

Former Atlanta star Andruw Jones made history by hitting two home runs in the World Series against the Yankees as a 19-year-old before starting his run as a 10-time Gold Glove center fielder. The other, Ken Griffey Jr., was electric. He amassed more the 400 home runs with Seattle while also collecting 10 Gold Glove awards in center field.

Now I'm not saying Harper is going to be like them or that I believe the hype that surrounds him. ButI bet if you ask Griffey or Jones, the time they spent learning the game in the bigs was far more valuable than any more time in the minors.

SHOW YOUR SPIRIT: Attention Atlanta Braves fans, in case you haven't heard but you can show your team spirit with a special edition, state-issued Braves license plate. The first 1,000 fans to register by Wednesday will also receive two free tickets to a 2012 Braves game.

If you want a Braves tag on your vehicle, go to to place your $25 manufacturing reservation. Credit cards will not be charged until 1,000 fans have signed up for the new tag, so spread the word.  

Once manufactured, fans will be able to pick up their license plate from their local county tag office. In addition to the manufacturing fee, the Department of Motor Vehicles will apply a standard $20 tag fee and $35 specialty tag fee, upon receipt. Fans can contact with any questions about the program.