Bryce Harper will play in his third road city tonight, and he has already been greeted by a Cincinnati Enquirer sports section featuring a full-page picture of him and by the opposing, all-star second baseman calling him Babe Ruth on Twitter. If Cincinnati follows the example set by Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, Harper will be greeted on the field in a less welcoming way: with boos.
Sitting in the Nationals dugout before the game today, Harper said he takes the boos as a sign of respect, and he doesn’t want the jeers to stop coming away from Nationals Park.
“I love getting booed,” Harper said. “When I’m on the road and I’m getting booed, I like getting booed,” Harper said during a quick session with Cincinnati media. “It keeps me in a mellow state. The more I hear out there, the better. Hopefully, I’ll keep getting booed here on the road.”
Harper has largely ignored opposing fans with his actions. In Pittsburgh, he made a running catch on the warning track and a pack of fans taunted him. Harper briefly flashed his glove at them and made a funny face.
Harper became accustomed to boos during his minor league days, a constant target as the most famous player in his lineup.
“Oh yeah, it’s been pretty brutal in the minors,” Harper said. “Ever since I’ve been up here, I’ve gotten booed. That’s just fans loving their team and hating their opponents. So that’s good for them.”
At about 3 p.m. today, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips – a brash player in his own right – wrote on Twitter, “GoodAfternoon
Cincinnati... Today we host
BabeRuth & the
Nationals for a 3 game series at
GABP! See y'all there.”
During warm-ups before the game, Harper and Phillips embraced behind the batting cage. We’ll see what happens if Phillips is making the turn on a double play and Harper is barreling into second.