That didn’t take long.
Bryce Harper, who signed a 15-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies just before the season and who was immediately embraced as Philly’s next sports hero, learned last night how quickly things can turn. Harper struck out twice last night and made a miscue in the field and. In the bottom of the eighth inning, after his second K, he heard the boos from the hometown crowd:
After a quick start to the season Harper’s April ended with a whimper. He’s currently hitting .240 with six homers, 20 RBIs and a .878 OPS. He’s hit .196 over the past two weeks. That’s not terrible overall — all guys slump — but it’s certainly not the stuff expected from the offensive centerpiece of a contender.
Last night’s boos were probably just as much for the team as a whole, really, with Harper serving as the understandable lightning rod. The Phillies only mustered four hits and struck out ten times against the Tigers in what was an uninspired performance overall.
For his part, Harper owned it. From NBC Sports Philly:
“I’d do the same thing,” he said. “It’s not fun to lose, not fun to watch when you’re playing that way. (I was) 0 for 4 with two punchies. I’m probably thinking the same thing walking back to the dugout.”
Harper hasn’t had a day off all season. Maybe he could use one.
Another fan was struck by a line drive foul ball during Sunday’s game between the Rockies and Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Mike DiGiovanna and Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times report. The ball was hit by Cody Bellinger in the first inning, going just beyond where the protective netting ends at the first-base dugout, striking a young woman in the head. Play was delayed for two minutes while the woman received medical attention. She initially stayed in her seat holding an ice pack to her head but was taken to a hospital for evaluation. According to someone in the Dodger Stadium first-aid office, the girl was alert and responding.
After the game, Bellinger said, “It was weird. It’s the first time I think I’ve hit a fan. I saw it literally hit her face. That was tough. I just tried to regroup. I’m sure it was tough for everyone.” He added, “I went over the next half-inning just to make sure she was all right. She said she was all right. She gave me a thumbs up. Obviously, it’s a scary situation.”
Both Bellinger and manager Dave Roberts expressed support for extending the protective netting at Dodger Stadium. [Update: Netting will be extended, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports.]
Bellinger was involved in yet another incident involving a fan later in the game. According to Michael Duarte of NBC Los Angeles, a 14-year-old girl ran on the field in the ninth inning. Bellinger said the girl came up to him and said, “I want a hug.” As she hugged Bellinger, a security guard tackled her. Bellinger said to her, “You know you’re going to jail?” She replied, “Yeah, I know. It was worth it.”