Bryce Harper arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon two for two in the win column and …
“Restaurant-wise, I’m seven for seven,” he said.
Harper arrived in Philadelphia a week ago Monday night along with his teammates.
So far, he said, the experience has been great. Wins on the field, adulation from the stands and good food in the city.
“Every place I’ve looked at and went to has been good,” he said. “I want to keep that going.”
Most of all he wants to keep the wins going.
The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves in the first two games of the season, both in front of raucous, sellout crowds.
“It’s been a lot of fun to come into a clubhouse where everyone’s arms have been opened,” Harper said before Sunday night’s series finale. “I’ve said it before, but it’s true. We’ve had a lot of fun as a team the past couple days.
“As a team, as a group, we were super excited and thrilled to be able to go out there and have the fans behind us. Thursday was great, yesterday was great. Just the way they’ve been showing up and supporting us — we want to be as good as we can be for this fan base. That’s what they expect.”
Harper said he was not surprised by the early fan support.
“I don't think so, just because they're such good fans,” he said. “They understand the game. They understand sports and their city. You see Eagles games, Sixers games, how supportive they are of all these teams. To be able to have them come into the Bank and really cheer us on and do what they know how to do, it's an advantage for us to have the fan base that we have and it puts the other team on a little bit of needles. It's a lot of fun.”
Harper crushed a 465-foot home run on Saturday and was lured out of the dugout for a curtain call. He thrust his arms skyward and shouted, “Let’s go!” with an unprintable word in the middle. The guy is intense and he likes the intensity that the fans have shown.
“It makes you want to be so good,” he said. “It makes you want to be that much better of a ballplayer. It makes you want to work hard, it makes you want to play hard. If we can match that intensity in the city with our team, then it's going to make us that much better.”
Manager Gabe Kapler has been impressed with the way Harper has “owned” his entry in Philadelphia.
“He's connected with people,” Kapler said. “He's connected with people in the ballpark. He's connected with his teammates. He's connected with the coaching staff. He's connected with the city. He's connected with the fans. And he knew that yesterday after that home run was a perfect opportunity to further establish that relationship and he did a great job with that.
“I think the concept that we, the Phillies, are in a partnership with the city is something that Bryce embraces. I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I believe he sees these opportunities to connect with the fans because they are an extension of our team. And good, excited energy in this city, in theory, can lead to better results. It doesn't work that way if you don't have talent. But given that we have a pretty talented club, it's possible that Bryce sees that connection as helping the Phillies win and making the people in Philadelphia feel good. I think he sees a big picture like that.”
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