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Bryce Harper on his MVP, a potential extension, and what happened to his Nationals this season

Bryce Harper, your 2015 National League MVP. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Bryce Harper spoke to reporters on a conference call after being announced as the National League Most Valuable Player on Thursday night, the first MVP in Nationals history. Below you’ll find a transcript of the highlights of that call, in which Harper addressed the people that helped him win this award, a potential contract extension, and what happened to his Nationals in 2015.

On joining Kris Bryant, fellow Vegas native, as a unanimous award winner this offseason:

“It’s so great for the state of Nevada and the City of Las Vegas to have two guys on the same awards. Being able to see Kris perform this year, doing everything that he did this year was a treat for all of baseball including myself. He’s such a special talent, and can’t say enough about him. But also, being able to being to bring an MVP back to Las Vegas and D.C. as well, I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am and so happy I am to be able do this.

All the credit goes to my teammates and the organization — Mike Rizzo, Mr. Lerner, Mrs. Lerner, just for giving me the opportunity to play this game every single day. I can’t thank my teammates enough for having my back all year long and just teaching me the way. I was very humbled by getting this award.”

[Bryce Harper blazes his own trail to the National League MVP award]

On how the reality of winning the award compares to what he dreamed of:

“Very excited, very humbled to get this award. When you go into spring training, you always want to win that World Series. You want to have that goal as a team, that goal as an organization to win a World Series and play every single day for your team. Going into this year, like I’ve said to you numerous times this year, all I wanted to do was stay healthy and be on the field every single day I could, and if I could do that, I would be winning this award at the end of the year. Just having the opportunity to play every single day was a lot of fun this year. Having the support of my teammates, having the support of the players on my team — I can’t thank Ian Desmond enough, Jayson Werth enough for everything they’ve done for me this year and in years past.”

Bryce Harper was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player on Nov. 19. Here's how he got there. (Video: Monica Akhtar/The Washington Post)

“But also you go into playing ball as a kid, playing ball in the backyard dreaming of a world series and doing everything you can to help your team get to that point. I was able to do that this year and be MVP and was very blessed to have the opportunity to win this award.”

On the expectations that have always followed him, and whether he felt the pressure to realize them quickly:

“I think it’s always been what have you done for me lately. I’ve always said that ever since I was younger. Being able to do the things I needed to do to help my team on a daily basis, I knew I could do. I think being healthy and playing the game the right way, I think that was the main focus. This whole year, all I wanted to do was stay on the field and do everything I can to help my team win. I always can get better. I’m gonna enjoy this with my family tonight, enjoy this with my team tonight, and you know tomorrow’s a new day.”

“All I want to do is win ballgames, I want to win a World Series, and I always know you can get better every single day, and that’s what I want to do. That’s what I want to do. I want to be the best I can. I want to work hard every single day to get to that goal, as an organization as a team I think everybody there wants to do the same thing.”

On what Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth taught him through the years:

“Start with Ian Desmond. I know this guy’s not in our clubhouse at this moment, but just not taking the game so serious, doing everything I can on a daily basis to have fun and enjoy it — enjoy the time that I play. He’s such a great teammate. He’s such a great person on and off the field, has a great family, and I enjoy playing side-by-side with him every single night. At the end of the day, whether you’re 0 for 4 or 4 for 4, you have to have the same mentality coming into that next day. And that’s what I tried to do the whole year this year. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to help my team win on a daily basis, and that’s all I wanted to do. I respect Desi more than anybody. This guy is somebody that I truly look up to as a person, and I can’t thank him enough for everything he did for me this year.”

[Officially super, Nationals’ star outfielder is nearly as superstitious]

“Jayson Werth, he’s like a brother to me, he’s definitely family. I can’t thank him enough for taking me under his wing at the age of 19 and doing everything he could. He’s somebody that I truly love playing with and I’m very excited to be able to get back with him next year and the next couple years. He’s taught me so much about how to approach the game, how to win ballgames, how to play in the postseason, how to play the game the right way every single day. The guy’s been around the game for a long, long time, and I can’t thank him enough for everything he does, if that’s taking me out to dinner, if that’s hanging out with me in the clubhouse or telling me what a pitcher’s doing, his tendencies, all around the game. He knows it. It’s been a lot of fun.”

On whether he would be interested in discussing an extension this winter, and what would be important in those talks:

“Definitely very excited to be a part of the Nationals organization. Being able to play in that stadium, being able to play for this city, this town, being around this city — it’s such a great place to play, it’s a monumental town, everything happens there, and I think baseball is up-and-coming. I think the things we’ve done the last couple years have been a lot of fun for us. I think as a team, as an organization we’ve grown into an elite team and I think we’re just gonna keep getting better and better. Mike Rizzo’s done a great job with this team, and the hiring of Dusty Baker — I mean it’s going to help put us over the top. So definitely excited about the up-and-coming years and very excited to further my career as a National. But I have a couple more years in D.C. and hopefully at the end of that, we can do what we can and maybe be a National for life, we’ll see.”

On whether winning the award makes all those years of carrying monstrous expectations worth it: 

“I think a lot of people know how I was growing up. I think a lot of people know how I am now. The expectations, being who I am, not really into looking at what other people are doing or what fans of other teams think or anything else. I just want to do what I do on a daily basis.”

[Photos: Bryce Harper is the unanimous winner of the NL most valuable player award]

“Just going into it on a daily basis of playing the game the right way, having the respect of my teammates and my organization, and Mr. and Mrs. Lerner and Mike Rizzo giving me the opportunity to play every day. I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for me. I’m just very proud to be able to bring this back to Las Vegas and D.C., and definitely going to enjoy it with my family and friends and everybody around. Just very, very excited.”

On whether surpassing Mike Trout as the youngest unanimous MVP in history means anything:

Not really man. Trout’s a great player. Everybody knows that. He’s awesome in this game. He does it day in and day out. He goes out there and he enjoys the game, he does it the right way, and I already said it — I don’t care about competing with those other guys. I’m trying to do everything I can to help my team win, everything I can to help my organization win. Trout’s on the West Coast, I’m playing on the East Coast, and definitely cheer for him when I can, do everything I can to talk to him, but he’s a great player. He’s up for it again this year, Donaldson had a great year of course, definitely could’ve went either way, but I’m excited for Donaldson and what he did this year, but Trout, he’s just such a great player. I respect him more than anybody. That guy is unbelievable at this game. You can’t say enough about Mike Trout.”

On what happened to the Nationals this season:

“I mean, really not sure. I think having the guys that we had out — we had our table setter out in Denard Span for numerous games, an unbelievable center fielder, great leadoff guy for us. Ryan Zimmerman, who’s our starting first baseman, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon out for the first couple months, but a couple teams can say that as well and they did, you know, a lot better, so I’m really not sure. I tried to go in and worry about what I could to help my team win on a daily basis. Tried to enjoy myself and not worry about who was out, who was in. You try to go in there and get guys like Michael Taylor who improved so much this year, played center field for us and was great. Trea Turner got a chance to play a little bit. Yunel Escobar stepped up huge this year for us. I can’t tell you enough how much I love playing with that guy. Such a great teammate, so much fun to be around. I really don’t know. We had Max Scherzer, Strasburg, we had a great staff. I mean sometimes the ball just doesn’t roll your way.”

“You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due and that’s the New York Mets. Those guys did unbelievable this year. I give so much credit to that organization, Terry Collins, the three horses they had and Niese — that guy, he did an unbelievable job this year also. So I got to give credit to them. They did an unbelievable job this year. They deserved to win. They deserved to get where they got this year.”

“I think a lot of people saw what the National League East was about — how much pitching we had, how much competition we had in that aspect with Harvey and deGrom and Syndergaard, those three guys were unbelievable this year. So I tip my cap to them and the Mets organization.”

On whether people will dismiss the Nationals next season:

“I hope everybody in the book dismisses us, because that means we’re going to go out there and do everything we can to prove people wrong. We’re a great team, we’re a great organization. I think we have the staff, I think we have the coaches and the manager to do it, and I truly think we have the lineup to be one of the best lineups in all of baseball. I think being able to go in with that process of learning who we are, learning our DNA and playing the game the right way every single day, and I think that’ll show. I think we’re going to have a great NL. You’re gonna play against the Mets and the Marlins and teams that are definitely up and coming. Very excited for this year to come, and we’ll see what happens.”