In a sign that the universe still has a couple utterly unprecedented tricks hidden up its sleeves, an athlete announced Wednesday that he is eager to be back among Philadelphia sports fans because of how appreciative and encouraging they are, as a group, relative to another set of sports fans.
The athlete in this case—who, it should be noted, displayed no further signs of a devastating closed head wound, and is therefore presumably not a danger to himself—is Bryce Harper, who along with the sagging Phillies is playing out the dregs of a disappointing regular season and enduring a series beatdown at the hands of the Nationals. The Phillies were eliminated from playoff contention in the first game of a double-header Tuesday, then watched the Nats celebrate their own playoff berth following another loss in the night game. This is a low time for everyone in the Phillies organization.
The Nationals won again Wednesday. As you can imagine, a crowd already determined to boo Harper over his eminently reasonable decision to accept a better salary and a more firm commitment when choosing which team will employ him for virtually the entire rest of the good part of his baseball career was feeling extra bold in the late stages of a fourth consecutive win in the series. Fans in right field who’d been giving Harper the business apparently turned nasty:
Harper declined to repeat or describe with any specificity what exactly was said by these line-crossing Nationals fans, but was quick to shout out the love and support he receives from his new pals in Philadelphia, known the world over for their respectful and resolutely in-bounds treatment of professional athletes:
According to a handful of Twitter users, the offending jeers may have mentioned Bryce’s infant son, which would indeed be very lame. Harper did well to work an implied dig at Washington’s fickle, fair-weather fans into his response to the heckling, even if it meant maybe overselling the warmth and hospitality of a fanbase that will consume his actual flesh if the Phillies are the same big fat disappointment a year from now. Twelve years is a long time!