WATCH: Bryce Harper’s Return to Nationals Park is a Doozy

Getty Bryce Harper

After nearly a year of toying with fans as to which team he would play for in the 2019 season, former free agent Bryce Harper chose to take a 13-year $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Both teams being part of the National League meant the teams were bound to play one another soon enough, but because the Phillies are division rivals of the Washington Nationals, Harper had to return to DC for the fourth game of the new season.

Preparing for the icy response to his return, Harper posted a heartfelt message on Instagram to say how much he loved playing in Washington. He wrote “You, Nationals fans, made me one of your own for the entire time I was a part of the Nationals organization. I’m so blessed to have been able to play for a fan base that cared so much about our team each and every night. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what. I look forward to continuing Harpers Heroes with LLS in the DMV as well as making sure the legacy fields bearing my name are the best youth fields in town!”

View this post on Instagram

If you would have told me 5 years ago I would be walking into Nationals Park as an opposing player, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. Five years later, I’m doing just that. I remember the first day I walked into Nats Park. My first base hit. My first home run. And, of course, my first standing ovation. Nationals fans delivered that first ovation. The things that I will miss most are the relationships I gained on a personal level with so many of the Nationals staff and workers around the ballpark. Every day I walked in, I got a smile or shared a laugh with you. I especially want to thank The Lerner Family and Mike Rizzo for the unwavering support they showed me during my tenure in DC. The city of DC was home. Filomena’s, The Silver Diner, The Italian store, and countless other places helped make it feel like home. You, Nationals fans, made me one of your own for the entire time I was a part of the Nationals organization. I’m so blessed to have been able to play for a fan base that cared so much about our team each and every night. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what. I look forward to continuing Harpers Heroes with LLS in the DMV as well as making sure the legacy fields bearing my name are the best youth fields in town! When I run on the field tonight I am sure to hear some boos, but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter. So for that, DC, THANK YOU.

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bryceharper3) on

But D.C. fans didn’t care too much for his words. Before the game started, a short video tribute played for Harper which was met with so many boos, the right fielder remained in the dugout. Normally, when there’s a “thank you” video played, the player comes out into the field, tips his hat to the fans before the game gets underway. This did not happen.

When Harper stepped up to the plate to face All-Star pitcher Max Scherzer, the boos were loud.

In case Harper wouldn’t be able to hear the boos, fans exchanged their normal Nationals gear, or perhaps turned their former #34 jersey’s inside out and wrote messages on their tees for their former MVP. A group of guys standing in a line spelled out “TRAITOR,” while another’s fans shirt merely said, “I don’t like Bryce Harper,” while one edited his jersey to read “HarPopop”.

In a since deleted tweet, the mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, tweeted a photo of Harper depicted as Benedict Arnold. The residents of D.C. are not quick to forgive Harper, who declined the Nationals’ offer of a 10-year $300 million contract. Even the Nationals official twitter handle took their shot, referencing Ariana Grande’s hit break-up song.

So, when the six-time All-Star struck out in his first at-bat, the cheers bellowed throughout the stadium. Harper also struck out at his second at bat against Scherzer.

However, it was Harper and the Phillies having the last laugh. He crushed a homer in his final at-bat, and they defeated the Nationals 8-2.

READ NEXT: #MyLastShot: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Read More