Bryce Harper’s Walk Off Grand Slam is a Thing of Beauty
There are two camps when it comes to Bryce Harper. The first thinks he’s a baseball superhero who has been destined for greatness since his MLB debut at age 19. The second thinks he’s an overpaid, overrated, over hyped, egotistical, showboating man-baby, annoyed by his overuse of eyeblack. At my own house, we are split – I am in the first camp, my husband sits squarely in the second.
The alarm clock in our room turned on early this morning, tuned into local sports radio, and the first thing I heard them say was how beautiful Harper’s walk-off grand slam was last night. Normally, I’d be annoyed for getting a wake-up before 6 am on a day that I didn’t have to be up so early, but upon hearing this I grabbed my phone and watched this glorious moonshot:
Can you even stand it? I got actual chills, watching the fans in their rally caps, hoping that it he doesn’t strike out on that 2-2 pitch, watching that ball absolutely launch off the bat, praying it stays in fair territory, and going absolutely nuts with that ball landing in the second deck. Harper ran those bases so fast, he reminded me of an excited 9-year-old Little Leaguer. In fact, I made my own 9-year-old ball player watch it with me for a second time.
With this walk off win, the Phillies swept a stunned Cubs team right on out of their ballpark. They’re now within one game of the 2nd NL wildcard spot in a very close race, right behind the Cubs. Harper’s old team, the Washington Nationals, lead that tight race for now.
When he signed his monster $330 million/13 year deal with Philadelphia back in March, people in both camps had lots of opinions. Camp 1 thought he absolutely deserved it, Camp 2 thought it was ridiculous for the Phillies to shell out so much for one player, and were shooting themselves in the proverbial foot by locking up their payroll and being unable to pay for multiple players to build a team around Harper. But if you look at Harper’s career up to this point, and remember that he’s still just 26 years old, the Phillies got themselves a deal.
To highlight why I stand firmly in the aforementioned Camp 1, let’s highlight a bit of his career, shall we? He debuted in 2012, and that year he won Rookie of the Year and made the All-Star game (the youngest position player ever to do so). He was unanimously voted the (youngest ever) NL MVP in 2015, a year where he won the Silver Slugger, led the National League in runs and homeruns, and led ALL of MLB in OBP, Slugging, and OPS.