It’s easy to at least see why Washington Nationals fans hate Bryce Harper now. But it’s also much easier to see why Bryce Harper isn’t a Washington National anymore.
The polarizing outfielder made (temporary) big league history this winter when he signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, leaving the Nationals, the only team he had known until that point. Sure, the Nats offered him a $300 million contract, but who among us wouldn’t like an extra $30 million even if it’s already on top of an ungodly amount like $300 million, ya know?
Anyway, the reception was predictably hostile when Harper returned to the nation’s capital with a “P” on his cap Tuesday. That’s usually the way these things go; just ask John Tavares about that. But on a night where it looked like the Nationals and their fans would get even the slightest bit of revenge on Harper, the 2015 National League MVP still ended up getting the last laugh — and he made it count.
Harper launched a sky-scraping home run as part of Philly’s 8-2 series-opening win, and he capped the dinger with an exclamation point in the form of a saucy bat flip.
“I heard the boos and just remembered that I had 45,000 people and more in the city of Philadelphia that were screaming at their TVs cheering,” Harper told reporters after the game, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Knowing that they were back at home, cheering and screaming at me through the TVs plus having a huge section in right field really fired me up. I’m excited to know this place was filled with Philadelphia fans.”
Harper has been simply brilliant in his first week with the Phillies. His home run Tuesday night was his third in as many games, and he’s now hitting .429 (6-for-14) with five RBIs. Most importantly, the Phillies are 4-0 to start the campaign and already hold a three-game lead over the Nationals.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports Images