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Bryce Harper wore a hat that read “Make Baseball Fun Again” after Monday’s game

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Update (9:12 PM EST):  Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post put up a picture:

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The Nationals beat the Braves 4-3 at Turner Field in Monday’s Opening Day contest. Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and a solo home run, picking up right where he left off.

Harper made waves last month when ESPN ran a feature in their magazine about him. In that feature, Harper was quoted as saying, “Baseball is a tired sport because you can’t express yourself.” He was referring to young players such as himself, Jose Fernandez, and Yasiel Puig who have received criticism for the way they play the game. Harper has also been subject to violence twice in his brief playing career, as Cole Hamels intentionally threw a baseball at him and teammate Jonathan Papelbon choked him in the Nats’ dugout near the end of the regular season last year. Both Hamels and Papelbon defended themselves, more or less saying that they were trying to teach the young Harper the right way to play the game.

Harper’s comments were the main topic of conversation for a while after that piece in ESPN ran. Giants reliever Sergio Romo even told Harper to “shut up“.

Taking the whole situation in good humor, Harper wore a trucker hat that read “Make Baseball Fun Again” after Monday’s game as he prepared to speak to the media, CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Chase Hughes reports. That ostensibly references Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again.”

It’s good to see that Harper hasn’t been weighed down by the whole situation and is able to have a good sense of humor about it.

Gerrit Cole second-fastest to 200 strikeouts in a season

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Astros starter Gerrit Cole dominated the Athletics on Monday night, limiting them to one run on two hits and a walk while striking out 11. It marked his 12th start out of 22 this season with double-digit strikeouts, giving him 205 total on the season.

It is no surprise, then, to hear that Cole is the second-fastest in baseball history to reach 200 strikeouts in a season, per MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart. Cole got there in 133 1/3 innings. The only pitcher faster than Cole was Randy Johnson, who reached 200 K’s in 130 2/3 innings back in 2001 with the Diamondbacks.

Along with the 205 strikeouts, Cole holds an 11-5 record with a 3.03 ERA across 136 2/3 innings. Among qualified starters in the American League, only Charlie Morton (2.61), Mike Minor (2.86), José Berríos (2.96), and teammate Justin Verlander (2.99) have a better ERA than Cole, who has twice finished in the top-five in Cy Young Award voting.