Bryce Harper’s return to Nationals Park had it all


Tuesday evening marked the much-anticipated return of Bryce Harper to Nationals Park. Harper was drafted by the Nationals in 2010 and spent seven seasons in the majors with them from 2012-18. He famously won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award, the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award, and the 2018 Home Run Derby. He put up historic numbers for a player his age and helped the Nationals reach the postseason four times, though they never advanced out of the NLDS. (Not his fault, of course.)

Last month, ending months of intrigue, Harper finally settled on a suitor, agreeing to a historic 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies. It was recently revealed that Nationals ownership made a $300 million offer. That offer, of course, was not $330 and included deferrals, lowering the present-day value. Nevertheless, Nationals fans felt spurned by Harper.

PhillyVoice curated some of the creative ways Nationals fans altered their Harper jerseys ahead of Tuesday’s contest:

In case the photos aren’t working for you, the jersey alterations read:

  • Somebody that I used to know
  • That’s a clown contract bro
  • Money-seeking FRAUD
  • B. Arnold
  • (A duct-tape X across Harper’s name and number)
  • (Scherzer’s name and number taped over Harper’s)
  • Drama Q

A group of Nationals fans in the front row in right field wore white t-shirts, each wearing a letter spelling out “TRAITOR.” Another fan had a sign that read, “Pardon Papelbon.”

Even D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser got in on the fun, tweeting a picture of Harper superimposed onto a picture of Benedict Arnold. She deleted the tweet not long thereafter.

Harper came to the plate in the first inning after back-to-back singles from Andrew McCutchen and Jean Segura to start the game against Max Scherzer. As Harper was announced, Nationals fans booed him lustily. Scherzer got the best of Harper this time, getting him to swing over a change-up for strike three and the first out of the inning. Nationals Park erupted in cheers.

In the third inning, Harper was again booed lustily as he came to the plate. Scherzer expertly placed a cutter on the edge of the plate, getting Harper to swing and miss for strike three. Again, the fans were ecstatic with the result.

It seemed like the hate only made Harper stronger. In the fifth, Harper did his best to start a rally, swatting a Scherzer curve into right field for a double, but Segura was unable to score all the way from first base. Harper and his teammates were amped up about his success:

Harper put the cherry on top of a four-run sixth inning outburst for the Phillies, lacing an RBI double to the opposite field off of Matt Grace in the sixth inning. He was very happy.

A large contingent of Phillies fans, having made the trek down I-95, drowned out Nationals fans’ boos by chanting, “We got Bryce!”

Harper absolutely obliterated a Jeremy Hellickson fastball 458 feet for a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning, putting the final nail in the coffin Tuesday night against his old squad. Harper had a bat flip for the ages:

The Phillies won 8-2.

Also fun were the light-hearted jabs taken by the Nationals’ and Phillies’ official Twitter accounts.

Rationally speaking, it doesn’t make much sense to hate on a guy for making financial and life decisions in the best interest of himself and his family. But fandom is, definitionally, not rational. Cheering for your guys and booing the other guys is fun and makes the game more interesting. The rivalry brewing between the Phillies and Nationals is already great and figures to get even better throughout the year. Hopefully that’s the case for years to come.

Yankees score runs in final three innings for 4-1 victory over Dodgers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – Despite battling injuries all season, the New York Yankees are still managing to pick up victories.

With AL MVP Aaron Judge sidelined after injuring his foot on Saturday, the Yankees got strong pitching and were able to use a little bit of small ball to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 Sunday and take two of three games in the weekend series.

“Just a really good all-around effort. A lot of winning things were happening in that game,” manager Aaron Boone said.

New York plated runs in the seventh and eighth innings on soft-contract grounders before Anthony Volpe provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the ninth.

J.D. Martinez homered for the Dodgers, who dropped the final two games in the series.

Clay Holmes (4-2) pitched one inning to pick up the win, and Wandy Peralta got the last four outs for his fourth save.

It was a pitchers’ duel for six innings between the Yankees’ Domingo Germán and Dodgers’ Bobby Miller. The right-handers matched zeroes as the teams combined for only four hits in the first six innings.

Dodgers’ rookie Miller allowed only one hit in his six innings, becoming the first Dodgers’ pitcher since at least 1901 to allow one hit or fewer within his first three big league starts. The 24-year old right-hander struck out seven and walked two in his third start.

Germán went 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run and four hits, including Martinez’s solo shot to tie it at 1-all in the seventh. The right-hander has limited opponents to one run or fewer in four of his last six starts.

Jake Bauers – who was playing right field in place of Judge – scored the game’s first run in the seventh on Kyle Higashioka‘s broken-bat grounder to short.

Bauers got aboard with a base hit then advanced to third when Brusdar Graterol threw the ball away on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bunt.

After Martinez’s homer, the Yankees retook the lead in the eighth against Evan Phillips (1-1). Oswaldo Cabrera drove in Anthony Rizzo with the go-ahead run with a slow roller that second baseman Miguel Vargas could only throw to first.

“It not being hit well helps when the fielders have to move a little. That’s what you’re selling out for. Good job by the base runners there,” Boone said.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said both balls could not have been placed any better by the Yankees’ batters.

“I don’t think they had a chance on both balls. The base runners had such a good jump. They were jam shots,” Roberts said. “There were a lot of things we did as far as giving away a couple bases on the defensive side.”

Volpe had two hits after being mired in a 3-for-38 slump his last 11 games. He extended the lead by driving Caleb Ferguson’s fastball over the wall in left-center in the ninth. It was Volpe’s ninth homer, which is second among AL rookies.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence,” said Volpe after the Yankees took four of six on the road trip.


Martinez evened it in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to left-center. It was his 10th homer in the last 21 games.

Martinez has 20 homers against the Yankees, his third-most against any club. He has 35 against Baltimore and 23 vs. Cleveland. He is four homers away from 300 for his career.


Miller – the 29th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft – looked like he might have a short outing after throwing 27 pitches in the first inning. He struck out three but also walked two.

Miller retired seven straight between the third and fifth innings before Volpe lined a base hit to center field with two out in the fifth.

“It felt really good. Been working on my slider a lot lately.,” said Miller, who threw 86 pitches, including 39 sliders. “They know I have a good fastball so I have to have my other pitches working as well.”


Yankees: LHP Nestor Cortes is expected to be placed on the injured list Monday or Tuesday due to a shoulder issue. Manager Aaron Boone said Cortes has been slower to recover between starts and is likely to miss one or two starts. … LHP Carlos Rendon (left forearm strain) will face hitters on Wednesday.

Dodgers: OF Trayce Thompson was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain. OF Johnny Deluca was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City.


Yankees: Return home for six games starting Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. RHP Clarke Schmidt (2-5, 5.01 ERA) has gone at least five innings in six of his last eight starts.

Dodgers: Hit the road starting Tuesday against Cincinnati. RHP Tony Gonsolin (3-1, 1.77 ERA) has gone 3-0 in his last four starts.