The Nationals travel to Philadelphia for a three game series beginning Monday, the first match-up between the teams since the whole Bryce HarperCole Hamelsold school baseball fiasco on Sunday Night Baseball. It will also mark the first time Harper travels to Citizens Bank Park as a big league player.
What type of reception will Harper get from the Phillies faithful? If you ask him, he is ready for whatever they want to throw at him, literally.
Hopefully I get a couple of boos, that would be awesome, he said.
Im excited to get in there and play and hopefully they dont throw any batteries or what not at me.
Harper will surely hear it from the crowd, hell probably see some creative fan-made signs as well. But while he may be joking about the batteries, he might not want to give the Philly fans any ideas. It should be quite tense between the teams after what went down just two weeks ago.
Harper knows he will get the treatment from the stands, but remains focused on the task at hand.
I dont really care, he said. I just want to go in and get some Ws.
Washington will begin a road trip of nine consecutive games against N.L. East foes. They begin with Philly before traveling to Atlanta and then Miami. It presents an opportunity for the Nats to establish themselves in the division as they move into June.
Harper put the Phillies series in terms of the overall upcoming stretch, but acknowledged he is looking forward to the match-up just like every other baseball fan.
Its going to be a fun three days down there in Philly and I am excited to get going.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store
Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract.
On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop.
It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series.
Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster.
Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.
The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda.
There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.
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