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Harper soaks in All-Star experience

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Harper soaks in All-Star experience

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As expected, once the door opened inside the club level at Arrowhead Stadium this afternoon for the media's 45-minute session with members of the NL All-Star team, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg immediately found themselves engulfed by reporters, microphones, cameras and other assorted oddities all looking to grab a minute with the Nationals' two young stars.

Sitting just to the right of his big-name teammates, Gio Gonzalez wasn't quite as big a draw, though the left-hander enjoyed the spotlight just as much.

"This is exciting," Gonzalez said. "You get an opportunity like this to have some fun, see some superstars out here, talk to them and pick their brains ... everyone's here enjoying this and embracing it."

There were, of course, plenty of attempts from media members to get Harper to chastise them for asking clown questions. Despite a whole lot of bizarre queries that qualified, Harper refrained from using the phrase that became a worldwide sensation last month.

Here are some highlights from the Nats' trio of All-Stars...

BRYCE HARPER
On his first impressions: "Being able to be around the guys that are the best players in baseball, it's pretty impressive coming in here. It's just a lot of fun being here, and it's only just getting started. Just being around these guys, I'm speechless. It's pretty unbelievable."

On what should be expected of him in tomorrow night's game: "I'm pretty terrible in All-Star Games. I don't know what they're going to see from me. Aflac All-American, I was 0-for-5 with four Ks. Under Armor All-American, I was like 0-for-5, 5 Ks. Last year in the Futures Game, I was like 0-for-5, 5 Ks. I'm just going to try to enjoy myself as much as I can and have as much fun as I can. Really just take it all in."

STEPHEN STRASBURG
On having multiple teammates alongside for the All-Star Game: "It's great being on a first-place team that can have more than one guy here. To be in this situation, where you have four guys, it's awesome."

On Gonzalez: "I've learned so much from him already, and I think he's learned a thing or two from me. We're a great combination. I'm excited we're going to be here for a while."

GIO GONZALEZ
On his teammates: "If it was up to me, I'd bring the whole team with us. Every single one of those guys deserves to be here."

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This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

This year's Nationals roster is stacked with glorious facial hair

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to have: A talented outfield led by Bryce Harper and Adam Eaton. A rising superstar at shortstop in Trea Turner. A possibly major hole at closer.

The following is a list of things the 2017 Washington Nationals appear to not have: Razors. Shaving cream. A desire to groom their faces.

A fun tradition at each team's spring training is the annual photo day, because photo day forces professional athletes to pose in front of cameras like they're being featured in the poster of an upcoming blockbuster movie. And after poring through the snapshots from the Nationals' photo day, a single trend emerged.

This year's team is a hairy bunch.

Among that bunch are the usual suspects, such as Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth:

But there are some surprises, most notably of which is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander tends to keep his mug 100-percent clean-shaven, but for now, at least, he's allowed his face to become quite fertile:

Then there's newcomer Adam Lind, who has a goatee that Duke's Blue Devil logo would be forced to respect:

Shawn Kelley, meanwhile, who's pictured below, has a beard that looks like...

...Derek Norris' beard, before Derek Norris' beard hit puberty and grew up to be the strong, mature beard it is today:

There are scraggly ones, such as Daniel Murphy's:

And fuller, more complete ones, like Eaton's (full marks, by the way, for the trade acquisition's ability to seamlessly connect 'stache to beard):

The most wild photo of all, however, was this one of Turner. Is this the Nats stud, or a picture of Leonard DiCaprio from a scene in The Revenant? Hard to tell with all that stubble the infielder's cultivating:

One potential positive of this team-wide movement: If Turner and his teammates keep what they're growing down in Florida going throughout the season, their faces will be plenty warm by the time playoff baseball comes around. 

RELATED: HARPER GOES YARD IN FIRST AT-BAT OF THE SPRING

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Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

Nationals' Bryce Harper mashes monster homer on second pitch of spring training

The Nationals played their first game of spring training today against the Mets. They won, but that's not nearly the biggest story of the day. It was Bryce Harper's first at-bat that stole the show. 

On just the second pitch he saw of spring training, from lefty Sean Gilmartin, Harper mashed a ginormous home run to right center field. MLB.com shared video of the bomb. 

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Harper smacked the ball at least 400 feet. In his second at-bat, he hit a line-drive single on the first pitch. 

Let's just say it was an exciting start to the year for Harper, who won the 2015 NL MVP only to endure a let-down last season. As Castillo points out, the slugger hit .226 against left-handed pitchers in 2016. 

Harper enters spring training at 230 pounds, up 15 pounds of muscle from last year. 

“I just felt going into the offseason you want to get as strong as you can, try to maintain your weight the best you can and just do everything the right way,” he told the Post. 

MORE NATIONALS: Baker thinks DC sports teams can win a championship this year