You leave a team that was your home for seven years and one that makes you a fairly reasonable contract offer. So when you go to a division rival, you’ve got to figure your old fans are going to be a bit upset.
All-star slugger Bryce Harper probably expected that when he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies during Major League Baseball’s offseason, leaving the Washington Nationals with a huge hole in their lineup.
After all, he gets heckled in every MLB park. He knew returning to play against his former teammates would spur extra jeering.
But Harper and his wife say the fans in the seats at Washington’s National Park went well past good-natured ribbing on Wednesday.
Harper showed his displeasure to the fans by pointing at his jersey and on Thursday morning, Kayla Harper lit into the Nationals fans, who she said brought Harper’s 1-month-old child into the heckling.
“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.”
Kayla Harper didn’t specify what Bryce told her the Nationals fans said but later tweeted that she and her husband have been disrespected all year.
“I truly doubt you are aware of the (direct messages) I have gotten from nats fans all season. Wishing my son has autism when he’s born for example. So yes all season,” she wrote, replying to people who were questioning her tweet.
“They were fine all game, talking about myself and things like that,” Harper said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I mean, I get it everywhere I go. It’s nothing new. But the last inning, it’s just not right. It’s just not right.”
Harper didn’t specify what the fans said.
“That’s part of sports. I guess that’s what it is nowadays,” the Inquirer reported Harper saying. “Individually you go out there and don’t really worry about what they’re saying. But there are times it’s just not good and just not right. Everybody has a platform now, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, or in the stands. They kind of say whatever they want, and that’s just how it is. You kind of have to live with it.”
Before the season, the Nationals reportedly offered Harper, the 2015 National League Most Valuable Player, a $300 million deal over 10 season. But he chose to sign with the Phillies for $330 million over 13 years.
The Phillies played in Washington 10 times this season (they lost again Thursday afternoon and Harper was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts); all but one were losses. They failed to make the playoffs.
Harper has had another standout season, hitting 34 home runs and driving in 109 runs.