Sean Doolittle hopes Nats fans give Bryce Harper the ovation he deserves

Chris Lingebach
April 02, 2019 - 12:47 pm

Sean Doolittle can envision Nationals fans' reception of Bryce Harper going a couple of different ways at Nats Park on Tuesday, but he sure hopes they give him a warm ovation.

"I honestly don't know what to expect," Doolittle told 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny. Listen to 'Closing Time with Sean Doolittle,' presented by Lindsay Volvo Cars of Alexandria, each and every Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan throughout the season at 11:45 a.m.

Harper makes his highly anticipated return to Washington Tuesday at 7:05, his first appearance in a Phillies uniform at Nats Park.

"I could it see it going a couple of different ways," Doolittle said. "But one thing that I think everybody is sure of is that it's kind of the hottest ticket in town, it's something that all of baseball is gonna be paying attention to tonight, so it's gonna make for a really electric atmosphere.

"As far as what fans should do, I hope they cheer him. I understand if there's fans maybe haven't quite gotten over it yet, the way that things went down, but you think about what he meant to this city and to the organization for – what was it – six years. He kind of grew up in and around this city. I think overall he represented this city and the organization really, really well."

"At the end of the day, it was a business decision that didn't go our way," Doolittle said. "He decided to go in a different direction, but I don't think it was personal, I don't think there was any ill-will, I don't think, so I understand if there are some boos kind of scattered in there, but I think he deserves a nice ovation and everybody should settle in and watch him and Max go at it."

If Doolittle gets the call from the bullpen and he happens to face Harper, he's try not to approach it differently than any other matchup, he says.

"In my experience, it can't become personal," he said. "So, like, it can't be something where like I'm thinking about... you can't let it become personal. You obviously have this experience of being a teammate for a couple years and watching him do his thing, and you know what he's capable of doing, but at the same time I'm really familiar with a lot of guys in that lineup from having faced them several times over the last few years as well.

"If anything, I think it's like maybe even a little bit more of an advantage, because we've seen him so much, we've seen him through the highs and the lows and we've seen him over the course of a long season, so we know kind of what he's capable of and maybe where his strengths and weaknesses lie."

"Yeah, I mean there's gonna be some serious energy in the building and you're well aware that he has a flare for the dramatic," he said. "You just can't let that moment get any bigger than it already is. You have to use that energy and try to harness it into some laser focus and go about your business as usual."

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