Bryce Harper‘s father, Ron, will throw to his son in Monday’s Home Run Derby in New York. Soon after Harper received the invitation, he asked his father to throw to him and he immediately accepted. Harper and his brother, Bryan, grew up hitting baseballs thrown by their father in batting practices. Harper once said his father threw him “millions” of pitches in his lifetime.
Harper kept his decision mum until Sunday, when he revealed it while packing up his belongings at Marlins Park before leaving for New York.
“I’m excited to share that moment with him,” Harper said.
Harper was picked for Monday’s event by David Wright of the New York Mets, the captain of the National League home run derby team. The two will represent the NL along with Michael Cuddyer of the Colorado Rockies and Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates (who replaced Carlos Gonzalez).
In preparation, Ron Harper said he has been playing catch “a little bit here and there.” He even went up to Class A Hagerstown, where Bryan is a reliever, and threw batting practice there recently.
“It’s awesome,” Ron Harper said. “It’ll be a great thing. Robinson Cano’s dad did it.”
As Bryce Harper walked out of the Nationals‘ clubhouse on Sunday evening following their final game before the all-star break, teammates shouted support. “Hey Bryce, swing hard,” Ian Desmond yelled from one end of the clubhouse. Craig Stammen echoed the same words.
Cano of the New York Yankees, captain of the American League derby team, selected Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, Prince Fielder of the Detroit Tigers and Yoenis Cespedes of the Oakland Athletics.