Man, last night’s game basically sums up how this season has gone. High hopes and excitement that do more than live up to the hype each and every day. We knew that Harper’s return to Washington was going to get a reaction and despite Harper’s kind words for the organization, it was the inevitable one. The Harper tribute video – that was so half assed – was met with a resounding chorus of boos from the small contingent of D.C. fans that aren’t political out of towners. It didn’t get any better during his first at-bat when the boos again rained down and Harper – clearly a bit flustered – struck out.
Now I won’t lie, I saw some pretty funny signs in that first inning. My personal favorite was a guy with one that said “turns out Papelbon was right” in the corner of the frame. But ultimately, Nats fans have shown us why D.C. is an amateur sports town yet again.
Let’s start off with the build-up. In the month or so that Bryce Harper has been a member of the Phillies, the fan-base has learned a-lot about him as a person. He is a very high character, fierce competitor who has been in a leadership position since he was 19 years old. All of these traits were apparent in the respect he showed towards the Nationals’ organization. He said he felt “blessed” to have been with the club since he was a teenager and had kind words for the city in an Instagram post.
As good as his intentions were, getting booed was a predictable turn of events. Over the past decade, the Phillies-Nats rivalry has been intense, oftentimes with Harper caught in the fray. By signing with a division rival, Harper solidified his status as a villain in D.C.. Are Red Sox players welcomed back when they jump ship to the Yankees? The answer is no.
But no worries. All of this is a good thing at the end of the day because Harper now plays for an actual sports town with real sports fans. When Harper struck out in the first inning, the Nats’ fan-base acted like they won the World Series. Remember though, D.C. is an amateur sports town. That stunt was only going to work once before it kicked Harper into “fuck ya’ll” mode. After their first inning World Series win, they only lost momentum.
The hottest eight hole hitter maybe ever – Maikel Franco – got things started with a home run to left in the second inning off Max Scherzer. The bats stayed hot all night with Segura going 3 for 5 along with two runs scored and three RBI’s, Herrera picking up three doubles and Harper rebounding to go 3 for 5 with a home-run, double and three RBI’s. Zach Eflin also looked excellent, going five innings while allowing just three hits and striking out nine.
By the time Bryce’s home-run was launched into the second deck – accompanied by a bat flip for the ages -chants of “we got Harper” had overtaken the ballpark from the busloads of Phillies fans that made the trip. Plus, as the cherry on top, the moonshot was hit right over the section where all the Phillies faithful were sitting. The ballpark was empty otherwise but that section was going wild. Then, as a curtain call, Harper went out and acknowledged the crowd. He was hyped up, and you could tell he was thinking “fuck Washington, I’ve got a new home” in his head.
So yet again, Northern invaders have planted a Phillies flag at CBP South. If the shoe were on the other foot and Bryce Harper signed with the Nationals, you can bank on CBP being sold out just to boo him. All Washington D.C. could muster was one half inning of booing before having their ballpark fully taken over by the seventh.
A couple funny signs and one inning of enthusiasm isn’t going to cut it, you chumps. D.C. is an amateur sports town and is the 4’11 foster child of Northeast sports teams. I’ll keep saying it until it sticks.
There is also no comparison on Twitter, but there’s honestly no match for Philly sports Twitter so no surprise there. Sports are an enormous part of the culture in the Philadelphia area and other cities just aren’t ready.
So Nats fans, it was comical watching that pathetic showing. Just roll over and let the 4-0 Phillies – who have the hottest bats in the league – take over from here.