You never know when Bryce Harper might talk trash on your favorite college football team
Phillies superstar Bryce Harper has dealt with his fair share of hecklers this season. That's the cost of being one of the game's most recognizable personalities and best players. Folks think you're "overrated," and so on.
So far, he's responded by swatting a bunch of homers all over the field, shushing the booing, heckling fans in the process with scenes like this:
oVeRrAtEd 🔊 pic.twitter.com/GRiIru07oK— Subscribe to Cut4 on YouTube!!!! (@Cut4) August 10, 2019
He's also, however, more than willing to engage in a little playful ribbing of his own. With college football season on everybody's mind right now, Bryce struck up a conversation with a young man behind home plate in the Phillies' 7-1 win over the Reds on Monday in Cincinnati.
The kid, who was seen gnawing on his necklace, I assume out of excitement as he was chatting with THE Bryce Harper, identified himself as a fan of both the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cincinnati Bearcats. Harper, however, is a proud and devoted supporter of (The) Ohio State Buckeyes, where his wife, Kayla, was a standout soccer player during her time there.
This context led to a brilliant exchange between Harper and the young man, both before Harper's eighth-inning at-bat, and after he crushed yet another home run.
That's some top-notch trolling by Harper, all in good fun of course. First, he and the kid exchange banter while he warms up in the on-deck circle, then he clubs a two-run homer, then flashes the kid the "O-H" sign on his saunter back to the dugout.
By the way, there are receipts proving Harper's allegiance, for any unbelievers out there:
Props to the kid for not giving in and finishing Harper's gesture with the "I-O," instead shaking his head and smiling at the whole thing. You gotta hold strong, even in the presence of one of baseball's biggest stars, and he did.
Are they friends now? Enemies? Frenemies? Who's to say? It's a fun little story for both of them, either way.
All I know is I'd definitely be nervous were I in the kid's position, seeing the fourth wall break between player and fan and realizing, "Whoa, he's talking to ... me?"
I'd also be ill-equipped for a college football argument, as I don't have an allegiance to any school and barely pay attention to it, really. Maybe we'd argue about hot dogs and how they're not sandwiches, or something? I could hold my own in that convo, for sure.
Whatever the topic, it seems that baseball players, being the premier talents they are, are fueled by competitive banter around home plate these days. We saw this dynamic play out last week in New York, when the Braves' Josh Donaldson trolled a Mets fan before hitting a homer of his own:
The takeaway from all of this, obviously, is that if you find yourself in the shoes of these fans, having a little back-and-forth with an opposing player in the on-deck circle, be careful!
He could very well use this exchange to his advantage, relegating you to a smirk and a head shake afterward, like Harper's new college football friend found out on Monday.
Adrian Garro joined MLB.com in 2016. Throughout his travels, both Bartolo Colon and Vin Scully have placed their hands on his shoulders. Not at the same time, though. That'd be amazing.