WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper has long been a favorite target for hecklers in road ballparks and now he is experiencing what that is like in Washington, where he called home for seven seasons.
Now a member of the Phillies, Harper was seen gesturing to the crowd at Nationals Park on Wednesday in the later innings of the Nats' 5-2 win. It was clear he was hearing it from fans and seemed to be egging them on.
But afterwards, when asked about the back-and-forth while addressing the media, Harper said these particular jeers crossed the line.
"They were fine all game talking about myself and things like that. I mean, I get it everywhere I go. It’s nothing new, but the last inning, it’s just not right. It’s just not right," he said.
Harper wouldn't specify when prodded for what exactly crossed the line. He suggested things were okay when the insults were about him, so perhaps fans took it further and invoked his family or something else.
He did, though, go into detail about why he gets criticized. Though Harper has always been a lightning rod because of his hype as a prospect, he thinks Wednesday's incident may have been rooted in the highly-publicized moments where he didn't hustle for the Nationals.
"Of course there have been times I haven’t ran out baseballs and things like that. I’ve slacked and things. That’s part of it. But every single night I come out here, my team deserves that, my city – Philadelphia – deserves that and the great fan base we have up there," he said.
Harper spoke glowingly about the fans in Philadelphia despite mentioning how they have also booed him this season. But he seemed surprised he would get this treatment from Nationals fans, who don't have the reputation for nastiness that other fanbases do, Philly being one of them.
"There are times it’s just not good and just not right. Everybody has a platform now whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or in the stands. They kind of say whatever they want and that’s just how it is. You kind of have to live with it. You see it in the NBA, you see it in the NFL and you see it here now and I guess it is just part of sports now," he said.
Harper hearing it from fans has been a constant in his career. Back in 2016, he spoke with NBC Sports Washington in-depth about the heckles he commonly hears from fans and the times where lines are crossed.
Back then, he said the Braves and Giants were among the most unpleasant towards him. It sounds like Washington is moving up the list.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS: