Following nearly an hour-long rain delay, Tuesday’s series opener between the Phillies and Nationals in Washington, D.C. The big news, of course, is that it is Bryce Harper‘s return to Nationals Park after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies.
The build-up to Harper’s return has been nothing short of glorious. Fans have destroyed or otherwise defaced the Harper jerseys they spent actual money on. The mayor compared Harper to Benedict Arnold. Fans have been instructed to boo Harper or take a hike.
After Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura each hit singles to start the ballgame, Harper at long last stood in the batter’s box facing Max Scherzer. Harper was booed lustily by his former home fans. Scherzer started off with strike one, a fastball that caught the corner. Harper swung and missed at a cutter for strike two, fouled off a 97 MPH fastball, then took two balls to even up the count. Scherzer then tossed a change-up that dipped under the strike zone, getting Harper to swing over the top of it for strike three. The crowd at Nationals Park erupted in cheers.
Fortunately, everyone is being cool about it.
Harper struck out again in the third inning: