Bryce Harper's Phanatic and Gritty T-shirt has everyone talking

Bryce Harper's Phanatic and Gritty T-shirt has everyone talking

Bryce Harper has arrived.

Picture this: You’ve just signed a 13-year, $330 million contract and you’re getting ready to head to work for the very first time. You have a closet, or suitcase, full of clothes to wear on the first day and you choose this one.

If you’re wondering, Gritty approves.

https://twitter.com/GrittyNHL/status/1111293155494821888

Yep, that’s right. In his first pregame walk to the clubhouse, Bryce Harper wore a shirt of Gritty and the Phanatic as characters from Pulp Fiction. Just incredible.

I think it goes to show that Harper isn’t taking himself too seriously despite all the attention and focus on what will be a huge opening day at Citizens Bank Park. He’s aware of what the fans want to see and it’s a 26-year-old kid having fun, playing the game he loves.

We’re ready for Day 1 of the Bryce Harper era, which will hopefully be filled with many more moments in which he’s able to have fun on and off the field.

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Bryce Harper takes the field, hits bombs, could be in games this weekend

Bryce Harper takes the field, hits bombs, could be in games this weekend

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Bryce Harper worked out with his new teammates for the first time Sunday morning.

He could get some at-bats in a Grapefruit League game as soon as next weekend, according to manager Gabe Kapler.

In his first official workday with the Phillies, Harper stretched, played catch, took batting practice — he launched several long home runs — and shagged balls in the outfield.

When he was done, he put his glove on his head and signed autographs for fans, one who yelled, "Welcome home!" Harper signed a 13-year contract worth a record $330 million with the Phillies. When the deal is over, Philadelphia really will be home.

"At the end of this, I could have a couple of kids and they could be able to say they're from Philly," Harper said after Saturday's news conference (see story).

For now, the 26-year-old slugger is getting used to his new surroundings. Before hitting the field Sunday morning, he spent three hours in the clubhouse, bonding with his new teammates before many of them boarded a pair of buses for a trip to Fort Myers and a game against the Twins.

Harper reported to camp in excellent shape. He had been taking batting practice at home in Las Vegas but will need time to ramp up the intensity before he's ready to see pitches in a game. The progression will include his taking live batting practice for a few days. Live BP is thrown by a real pitcher, not a coach, from 60 feet, 6 inches, using a full repertoire of pitches.

"I'll try to see as much live BP as I can this week to get ready for games and stuff like that," Harper said. "I just want to see pitches. It doesn't matter who it's from or anything like that. I just want to see rotation [of the ball], feel what it feels like to be in my cleats again and be on the grass and just be out there."

Harper said it typically takes him 40 to 45 game at-bats to be ready for the season.

Since Harper's signing, the Phillies have sold more than 220,000 tickets back home and another 10,000 in Clearwater. Fans are eager to see him play in Grapefruit League action and Kapler said he'd likely get at-bats as the designated hitter against the Blue Jays in Clearwater on Saturday.

"I'm going to take my time," Harper said after Sunday's workout. "I don't want to rush. I'm going to take it day by day and once I can get into a game, I will.

"But I'll be ready for opening day, March 28."

That's the important thing.

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Bryce Harper will wear No. 3 jersey with Phillies

Bryce Harper will wear No. 3 jersey with Phillies

We're used to seeing the No. 3 around town.

Get ready to see it a whole lot more.

Bryce Harper will wear No. 3 as a Philadelphia Phillie, NBC Sports Philadelphia confirmed Friday night.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Breen first reported the news.

Much respect to Harper for not choosing No. 34, which was worn by Roy Halladay. Harper wore No. 34 during his first seven big-league seasons with the Nationals.

He now has an awesome new number. Allen Iverson will certainly approve.

We should also expect to see some "Babe Harper" signs around Citizens Bank Park. Babe Ruth, of course, wore No. 3, because he typically batted third in the lineup. There's also a chance Harper hits third in the Phillies' batting order, which is pretty neat.

The last Phillie to rock No. 3 was David Lough — yes, David Lough in 2016.

Soon, the No. 3 Harper jersey will be permeating the Delaware Valley.

To understand the franchise history of the number, here's a list of Phillies to ever sport No. 3, courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com:

David Lough (2016)
Jeff Francoeur (2015)
Marlon Byrd (2014)
Roger Bernadina (2013)
Delmon Young (2013)
Hunter Pence (2011-2012)
Ross Gload (2010)
Lou Marson (2008-2009)
Abraham Nunez (2006-2007)
Todd Pratt (1994-2005)
Kevin Elster (1995)
Billy Hatcher (1994)
Dale Murphy (1990-1992)
Ron Stone (1969)
Bobby Del Greco (1960)
Don Landrum (1957)
Bobby Morgan (1957)
Peanuts Lowrey (1955)
Tommy Glaviano (1953)
Putsy Caballero (1950-1952)
Bill Glynn (1949)
Eddie Miller (1949)
Bert Haas (1948-1949)
Charlie Gilbert (1947)
Eli Hodkey (1946)
Jimmy Wasdell (1944-1946)
Roger McKee (1944)
Andy Karl (1944)
Babe Dahlgren (1943)
Chuck Klein (1932-1942)
Mickey Livingston (1941)
Syl Johnson (1939-1940)
Morrie Arnovich (1938)

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