“They made their decision, and I made my decision as well,” Harper said in an interview with The Athletic’s Jayson Stark. “I made the best decision for my family. And I am so happy to be in Philly. It’s the place that I wanted to be.”
Not at all jealous of his former team’s success, not even a little?
“No, because like I said, I made my decision, and that was my decision,” Harper said in the interview, which was published on Friday. “And it was the final decision that I made. You know, jealousy isn’t good. For me, it’s about having the gratitude to go out and do what I do each day and not having an attitude toward anybody else.
“I think it’s about being able to be the person that I am and not saying to myself, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’m not a National.’ Or, 'Oh my gosh, those guys are doing what they’re doing. I can’t believe it. I’m so jealous.’ No. I’m so happy for them. You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”
Harper’s comments to Stark were in line those he made to The Post’s Barry Svrluga before the Phillies first played the Nationals this season, back when Washington winning the National League pennant was something of a dubious prospect.
“There’s just so many memories, so many good memories,” Harper said. “I’ve said it a million times: Those are the fans I grew up in front of. That was my first fan base … Really, I cherished it. Every single day I walked in there and loved it.”
By the end of the season, that had changed a bit. During a game at Nationals Park on Sept. 25, one day after the Nats had clinched a playoff berth with a win over Harper’s Phillies, the fans in the center field stands apparently got to Harper enough that he felt compelled to mention it afterward.
“They were fine all game, talking about myself and things like that,” Harper said. “I get it everywhere I go. That’s nothing new. But the last two innings, it’s just not right. It’s not right.”
Harper’s wife, Kayla, suggested on Twitter that a fan had made a remark about the couple’s newborn, Krew.
“When you bring his son or family into it, yes you’re crossing a line,” she tweeted. “Stick to your overused overrated and Harper sucks chants if you’re really that loser that goes to a game to heckle someone. Phillies fans might boo him but they don’t bring his 4 week old son into it. Classless. "
But Harper told Stark that he’s been following along as his former teammates have made their run.
“I’ve been watching a lot of it,” he said. “Those are the guys I played with and came through the organization with … I wish them nothing but the best. And that’s real. I have no hard feelings toward them, or Mike Rizzo, or anything like that. You know, they’re a great team. And that’s why they are where they are.”
Harper demurred when Stark asked him about the simmering debate about whether the Nats actually are better without him, leaving The Athletic reporter to ask former teammate Jayson Werth for his opinion on the subject. He called it “the stupidest conversation ever.”
“This is such a non-topic,” Werth said. “I think it’s a joke, that people are saying they won because Bryce Harper’s not on their team. They won because they’re dominant, and because they’re a team with no holes — not because Bryce Harper’s not there.”
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