As Bryce Harper prepares to make his first trip to Nationals Park as a visiting player Tuesday, he tipped his cap to the franchise he spent his first seven MLB seasons with.
The Philadelphia Phillies star took to Instagram to show his appreciation for the Washington Nationals and their fans:
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Bryce Harper writes thank you note to Nationals ahead of his return to Washington https://t.co/a3eCIdFdp9
"If you would have told me 5 years ago I would be walking into Nationals Park as an opposing player, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. Five years later, I’m doing just that. I remember the first day I walked into Nats Park. My first base hit. My first home run. And, of course, my first standing ovation. Nationals fans delivered that first ovation. The things that I will miss most are the relationships I gained on a personal level with so many of the Nationals staff and workers around the ballpark. Every day I walked in, I got a smile or shared a laugh with you. I especially want to thank The Lerner Family and Mike Rizzo for the unwavering support they showed me during my tenure in DC. The city of DC was home. Filomena’s, The Silver Diner, The Italian store, and countless other places helped make it feel like home. You, Nationals fans, made me one of your own for the entire time I was a part of the Nationals organization. I’m so blessed to have been able to play for a fan base that cared so much about our team each and every night. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what. I look forward to continuing Harpers Heroes with LLS in the DMV as well as making sure the legacy fields bearing my name are the best youth fields in town! When I run on the field tonight I am sure to hear some boos, but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter. So for that, DC, THANK YOU."
After becoming the No. 1 pick in 2010, Harper earned six All-Star selections, the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year award, the 2015 NL MVP award, a 2015 Silver Slugger and the 2018 Home Run Derby title. He also helped the Nationals to four postseason appearances.
Harper recently told the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga that he had anticipated re-signing with Washington as a free agent this past winter. A 10-year, $300 million offer in September had him optimistic about staying with the club, and a December meeting appeared to help the odds.
However, the Nationals’ second offer of 12 years and $250 million with deferred money signaled the end of his stay in the nation’s capital.
The 26-year-old signed a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies, which was then the record for the largest contract in North American sports history.
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