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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

Bryce Harper Makes Triumphant Return to Nats Park

Amidst the rain showers and downpouring of boos, Bryce Harper made his first appearance at Nationals Park as a Philadelphia Phillie.

His return was hyped up even more during the day on Tuesday with a series of social media posts. Harper finally posted a thank you to D.C. on Instagram and Facebook, but it was generally mocked for his reference to the Silver Diner, and his admittance that he was expecting to be booed at the only home field he had known previously.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser took to Twitter to mock Harper, by posting a photo of his head photoshopped onto a revolutionary war general, and with the text “Benedict Bryce Arnold.”  It was quickly deleted from her Twitter page, but not before everyone else had already saved it.

The spring rain showers could not dampen the energy of the home crowd. The Nationals played a thank you video for Harper before the game, but the message was overshadowed by fans booing.

It was the matchup everyone was waiting for. Max Scherzer on the mound. Bryce Harper now wearing number three and emerging from the visitors dugout, came to bat in the top of the first. Strike one. Strike two. Foul ball. Ball. Ball. Strike three. Let the boos fly. All 35,000 fans let Harper know how they felt about him.

Angry Nats fans saw their wish of watching Harper fail come true again in the top of the third inning. Foul ball. Ball. Strike. Foul ball. Ball. Ball. Strike.

That was the end of the Nats dominance of Harper. He had faced Scherzer before, but only in Spring Training batting practice. Those two strikeouts and accompanying boos clearly lit a fire under Harper, as he made the most of the rest of his time at the plate.

Harper doubled off of Scherzer in the 5th inning, singled off of Matt Grace in the 6th (his first RBI of the night, scoring Jean Segura), and hit his third homer of the season off of Jeremy Hellickson in the 8th (giving him his second and third RBIs of the game as Segura also scored again).

Everyone has seen Harper homer into the right field seats at Nats Park, but this one hurt. It was a no doubter that went deep into the second deck. He just had to top it off an extravagant bat flip. Ok fine, your new team was winning 8–2 on in your old team’s home. We get it. No need to rub it in Mr. Harper.

No surprise but the Phillies went on to win the game 8–2. The Nats only run came on a two run homer from Anthony Rendon in the bottom of the 6th inning. Trea Turner got hit by a pitch and broke his right index finger, and Matt Adams took a drive over the railing and let with “back spasms.”

The Nats are 1–3 and tied with the Atlanta Braves for last in the NL East. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but the panic is slowly creeping in.

-Arielle Gordon

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