WASHINGTON — Tuesday began, Bryce Harper said, like just another morning in his old hometown. He drove the night before to his beloved sandwich spot and ate a late dinner at his favorite restaurant. But if the morning was normal, the afternoon was a bit strange.
Harper arrived, for the first time in his career, at Nationals Park as a visiting player. He played the first seven seasons at the ballpark near D.C.’s Navy Yard, arriving as teenager before emerging as one of baseball’s biggest stars. He returned Tuesday afternoon wearing a vintage Phillies shirt tucked under a denim jacket. Harper was wearing his new colors in his old hometown.
“It was definitely different, but it felt good,” Harper said of arriving as a visitor. “After three days in Philly and being part of that group through spring training, I got real familiar with the guys and the city and things like that and the fan base, and it has been great. I'm going to treat this like another stadium and try to do my job.”
Harper is unsure of the reaction he will receive Tuesday night when he takes the field for his first game against the Nationals. He’ll likely receive a mixture of cheers and boos when he steps to the plate in the first inning against old teammate Max Scherzer. And Harper is just fine with that.
“Everywhere I go, if I’m a visiting player, I get booed,” Harper said. “It’s just part of it.”