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Bryce Harper Tom McCarthy Twitter/@YahooSports
Twitter: @YahooSports

Washington Nationals fans justifiably wanted to keep Bryce Harper this offseason. He’s the most iconic (though not the best) player in the history of the franchise. He’s an annual threat to not just have an MVP season, but to do it in a way that just feels mean.

Like, he’d win the award by treating the rest of the National League the way a super handsome bully treats the weak outcast. He’d beat them mercilessly and then go home and have sex with his hot cheerleader girlfriend who the outcast secretly loves. Except there’s no redemption arc for the outcast and that’s the end of the story. The handsome bully with everything wins.

But deep down, Nats fans knew they could get on with their baseball lives if Harper were offered a better deal elsewhere. Because though Harper, as an opposing player, is a constant threat to rip your soul out through your butthole and then trot away laughing, he’s not so indispensable that a team — especially a team as talented as the Nats — can’t absorb the blow.

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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.

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It’d be one thing if Harper were putting up 9-win, 40-homer, MVP-caliber seasons every year. But he isn’t Mike Trout (which is like saying he isn’t God, but still). Harper is a threat to win an MVP every year mostly because of how talented he is, not because of how much he actually produces on a regular basis. Harper has hit over 30 home runs twice. He’s had 100 RBIs once. For some reason, defensive metrics say he’s getting worse and worse at fielding his position despite the fact that he’s only 26 and is a freakishly talented athlete with great baseball instincts.

You could make an argument that Harper has issues staying engaged. Harper is definitely a player you want on your team, but not a player you’d do anything to have. (At least not in terms of on-field production.)

But the thing is, Bryce Harper is also rad and hands down the coolest player in baseball and I’d be mad if he left my team too.

So when Bryce Harper made his return to Washington this week, now a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, Nats fans booed him mercilessly. The last time anyone wearing red was that hated in D.C. they were burning down the White House.

Harper may not have quite lived up to the sky-high expectations set for him in Washington — they never won a single playoff series despite being the favorite to win the pennant multiple times — but he made the team matter. So when the Washington fans laid into him and then celebrated raucously when their actual best player in franchise history, starting pitcher Max Scherzer, struck Harper out, Phillies TV play-by-play man Tom McCarthy was not pleased. So he said the meanest thing he could think of about the Nationals.

“The Nats have never won a World Championship since coming back to D.C. but they’re celebrating as if they’ve won something.”

Devastating. (Even though Bryce played a part in that, ahem.)

And then Bryce killed them too.

The Nats are dead. Bryce Harper appears to be engaged. And now the rest of the National League is in really, really big trouble.

READ MORE: Bryce Harper’s Baby Needs a Name, So Philly Fans Gave Some Ridiculous Suggestions

Rob Fox About the author:
Rob Fox is a writer, comedian, and producer based out of Austin, Texas.
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