Over the course of his seven-year stint in the nation’s capital, Bryce Harper stepped to the plate 1,994 times at the Nationals’ home ballpark. The D.C. faithful cheered him on each time, hoping the at-bat they were about to see was going to produce something special.
That 1,995th time, however, was different. When Harper arrived at Nationals Park on April 2, 2019, he was no longer the face of their franchise. He was the $330 million prized offseason addition of the Philadelphia Phillies, an NL East rival looking to climb back into contention following a lengthy rebuild.
Harper stepped to the plate in the top of the first faced the with the challenge of batting against former teammate and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. It was unclear what to expect of a Nationals Park crowd that included a throng of Phillies fans in center field, but there was no confusion as to whether Harper was treated to jeers or cheers when his name was called.
Bryce Harper steps to the plate amid mostly boos at Nats Park. Couldn’t hear many cheers pic.twitter.com/ZajauHbYAb— Matt Weyrich (@ByMattWeyrich) April 2, 2019
The former NL MVP worked the count to 2-2 against Scherzer before striking out swinging on a changeup to electrify the Nationals Park crowd.
Yo homes, smell ya later. pic.twitter.com/3Jf1aR8mJq— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 3, 2019
Other than another Harper strikeout, however, there would be little else that Nationals fans would cheer about that evening. The Phillies broke open a 5-0 lead against Washington’s bullpen before Harper hit an RBI single for his first career hit against the Nationals.
The home team would put two runs on the board to get within striking distance, but Harper had the last laugh that night after he put the game away with a 458-foot homer off Jeremy Hellickson before taking the time to toss a spinning bat flip at the Nationals’ home dugout.
Of course, the Nationals were really the ones who had the last laugh after they eliminated the Phillies from playoff contention with a five-game sweep in September before making a miracle run to their first World Series win in franchise history.
As for the Phillies, well, they have 12 more years with Harper to try and top that.
Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS: