Bryce Harper leaned into his 'villain' status and shushed booing Giants fans after crushing a homer
"Where will Bryce Harper sign?"
That was the big question on everybody's mind in the winter, as one of baseball's biggest stars weighed his many options in free agency before signing a massive deal with the Phillies.
A player with a profile as high as Harper's means one thing: booing from opposing teams' fans, pretty much no matter where he goes. It followed him from city to city during his time with the Nationals, that familiar mixture of envy and annoyance that all elite players see throughout their careers.
During Harper's free agency, the Giants were one of the teams that pursued him most heavily, ultimately coming up short. With the Phillies in San Francisco this weekend, the stage was set for Giants fans to make their feelings known -- and they've been booing him pretty heartily thus far, both on Thursday and in Friday night's game.
So when Harper crushed a no-doubt, 420-foot homer to center field in the fifth inning, he took the opportunity to silence the crowd -- both with the bat and literally:
That had to feel good. Obviously, Harper understands why he's the source of Giants fans' ire. He tantalized them with the thought of suiting up in that gorgeous off-white home jersey and playing at Oracle Park alongside franchise cornerstones like Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner.
But it didn't happen, so now he's the enemy. The villain. The guy they have to jeer, no matter what. That's just how it works.
In the eighth inning, Harper came up again and turned a 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 lead with another blast. It represented his first multi-homer game with the Phillies and sent them on the way to a 9-6 victory. This homer was even more ridiculous. It landed a projected 456 feet from home plate, splashing into McCovey Cove with authority:
Bryce to the Cove! 😱 pic.twitter.com/WSvtCsMBdG— MLB (@MLB) August 10, 2019
This is the best angle:
oVeRrAtEd 🔊 pic.twitter.com/GRiIru07oK— Cut4 (@Cut4) August 10, 2019
There's that man again.
Harper's no stranger to staging epic revenge games. In his first game back in D.C. against the Nats in the first week of the season, he stepped up in front of thousands of bitter Nats fans raining down their disapproval of his decision to skip town and had one of the best revenge games there has ever been:
So go ahead, jaded fans of teams Harper didn't sign with. Boo him. Razz him.
You'll only make him stronger.