Fans in the City of Brotherly Love will treat Bryce Harper like one of their own.
Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt predicted Monday that Bryce Harper will receive boos from fans at some point during his tenure with the team. Schmidt told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen all Philly sports stars occasionally receive boos, even elite ones like himself.
“He won’t have a problem (meeting fans’ expectations) because he’s all the things they want in a player,” Schmidt said. “He doesn’t do anything that they won’t like. He’ll run into walls for you. He’ll sign autographs for you. He’ll talk to the media. He’ll say the right things in the clubhouse. Surely, he’ll strike out with the bases loaded every now and then. He’ll do that. He might slip into a slump and catch a few boos now and then. But I’m in the Hall of Fame and I got booed more than anybody. It’s all part of it. The passion of the Philadelphia fan.”
Schmidt spent his entire 18-year Major League career with the Phillies, won one World Series, three MVP awards and made the National League All-Star team 12 times. Yet fans still booed him.
He explained why his relationship with Philly fans often was rocky and believes Harper, who joined the Phillies earlier this month on a record-setting 13-year, $330 million contract, will cope with the inevitable boos better than he did.
“My inability to handle it,” said when asked why he had difficulty with fans. “My inability to say the right thing, do the right thing in regards to that. My insecurity with the fans. Trying too hard to please them at times. Bryce won’t have that. He has the ‘it’ factor. He understands pressure and knows how to handle it.”
As a seasoned professional, Harper has heard fans boo him before. But boos coming from home fans might be a new experience about which he can’t say he wasn’t warned.
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