Bryce Harper wrote a heartfelt message to Nationals fans ahead of his return to D.C.
Sure, it's still early April, but Tuesday night is set to bring us what could very well be the must-see game of the 2019 season: Phillies at Nationals, Max Scherzer on the mound, Bryce Harper making his return to the nation's capital.
This date has been circled on baseball fans' calendars since the day Harper signed that 13-year deal with a division rival, and Philly's raucous weekend sweep of the Braves -- less a series of baseball games than a loosely organized block party featuring Phanatic cleats and all kinds of choreography -- did nothing to tamp down the spiciness.
But while Harper is loving his new digs, he also wants D.C. to know that he hasn't forgotten them. So, before he shows up at Nationals Park for the first time in a visiting uniform, he posted a heartfelt Instagram message to Nats fans:
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If you would have told me 5 years ago I would be walking into Nationals Park as an opposing player, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. Five years later, I’m doing just that. I remember the first day I walked into Nats Park. My first base hit. My first home run. And, of course, my first standing ovation. Nationals fans delivered that first ovation. The things that I will miss most are the relationships I gained on a personal level with so many of the Nationals staff and workers around the ballpark. Every day I walked in, I got a smile or shared a laugh with you. I especially want to thank The Lerner Family and Mike Rizzo for the unwavering support they showed me during my tenure in DC. The city of DC was home. Filomena’s, The Silver Diner, The Italian store, and countless other places helped make it feel like home. You, Nationals fans, made me one of your own for the entire time I was a part of the Nationals organization. I’m so blessed to have been able to play for a fan base that cared so much about our team each and every night. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what. I look forward to continuing Harpers Heroes with LLS in the DMV as well as making sure the legacy fields bearing my name are the best youth fields in town! When I run on the field tonight I am sure to hear some boos, but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter. So for that, DC, THANK YOU.
Harper spent his first nine years in professional baseball as a National. It's where he was drafted as a teenage prodigy, and it's where he blossomed into a full-fledged star. He may wear a different shade of red now, but he and D.C. made a lot of memories along the way.