Bryce Harper wants peace with D.C. sports fans

Brian Tinsman
June 08, 2018 - 1:53 am
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Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

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Bryce Harper is a rarity in D.C. sports because he has enjoyed almost universal appeal among local fans for the duration of his career. 

The first real test of that bond happened in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (of all things) when his hometown Las Vegas Golden Knights faced off against his professional town Washington Capitals.

Harper seemed to almost relish the heel turn, telling the NHL Network that he's never been more nervous watching anything as much as the Knights. That's fine.

What began to rub people the wrong way is when he showed up for Game 4 at Capital One Arena, wearing a Knights jersey. It was a Nats off day, and he was countered by his teammates Max Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman, who were over-the-top Capitals super fans for the game. 

It was during that game that the Caps effectively put the series out of reach, and Harper got to find out how inhospitable D.C. sports fan can be once crossed.

To confirm that feelings had been hurt, the large contingent of Caps fans who made the trip to Vegas booed inside of the arena when he came on the scoreboards to fire up Vegas fans before the game. That's a remarkable transformation for the beloved boy of summer.

Perhaps it was an eye-opening experience for Harper. Perhaps he doesn't want to close out the only fans in baseball who have loved him unconditionally. Perhaps he is looking ahead to free agency.

But shortly after Game 5 ended in defeat for Vegas and victory for Washington, Harper extended an olive branch of peace:

Harper is playing a tough game here and it didn't take long for him to remind fans of his hockey loyalty:

So, maybe he'll never be a Capitals super fan, but at least he has some loyalty to places where he has lived for a long time. With free agency looming at season's end, that can't be a bad thing.

 

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