Bryce Harper’s return to Nationals Park had it all

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper

After signing a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies, Harper became public enemy No. 1 among Nationals fans.

Heading into the offseason, Nationals fans seemed to recognize that it was inevitable Harper would leave, but they may let him have it for choosing to go to a division rival. Although there also was a smattering of applause throughout the stadium, which included several right-field sections full of Phillies fans who bused down from Pennsylvania, the predominant reaction was overwhelmingly negative.

Even D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser got in on the fun, tweeting a picture of Harper superimposed onto a picture of Benedict Arnold.

Harper anticipates some boos but it will be interesting to see what the split is between bitter boos and grateful cheers on Tuesday night.

Think about how in 2010 the Nationals drafted this 17-year-old kid from Nevada, changing the history of their franchise forever.

"I go out there and try to play my game and just understand that I have teammates in that dugout that are going to pull for me every single day". He didn't hit his first home run until his eighth game, when he belted two in a victory over the Braves.

Jayson Werth always will get tons of credit for being the leader in changing the culture in Washington and taking the Nationals from a bottom of the barrel team to a contender, but the realization is without Harper, none of that likely happens. Harper struck out against Nationals ace Max Scherzer. The ones that do never deserved him in the first place. You saw that tonight.

Harper announced Monday on Instagram that he and his wife, Kayla, are expecting their first child, a boy.

Speaking before the game, the 26-year-old Las Vegas native had paid tribute to the Nats fans and said he hoped for peace when he took to the mound.

Want your voice heard? He'll face the team with which he began his major league career for the first time Tuesday night. The montage, which lasted just over a minute and featured clips of Harper receiving his MVP award, dedicating a local baseball field named for him and winning last summer's Home Run Derby in D.C., concluded with a message that read, "Thanks for the memories Bryce".

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