As a sports fan my first love as a kid was baseball. I go back to the days of the Senators in DC in the 1960s. When we had a team it usually stunk. Then we had no team for decades. The Redskins filled the void admirably, especially in the 80s and early 90s. Then we got a baseball team again in 2005, but it usually stunk. Now for the first time in my life we have a really good pro baseball team in town. Man, is it fun.
Excerpts from a 6/12/12 article By Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post
TORONTO — The ball hissed through the cool Canadian twilight, and the tale of Bryce Harper’s first season in the major leagues grew a little taller. Harper provides a new feat to marvel at almost every night. He has stolen home, roped a walk-off single, come off the bench to seal a sweep at Fenway Park and, on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, he clobbered a baseball off the windowed facade of a restaurant that hangs perhaps 450 feet from home plate.
Harper’s mammoth home run sparked the Washington Nationals’ 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, their fifth straight win and seventh in their past eight games. They moved to 37-23, a 100-win pace, and vaulted into a four-game lead in the National League East after the Atlanta Braves lost to the New York Yankees.
Add all his exploits together, and Harper is doing something no teenager ever has in the major leagues. After his second consecutive three-hit game, Harper is batting .307 with a .943 on-base plus slugging percentage. Over a full season, his OPS would surpass the highest mark by a teenager — Mel Ott’s .921 in 1928 — since at least 1900.
For all his teammates’ contributions, Harper’s blast to right-center field hung over Rogers Centre all night, the crowd’s collective gasp remaining as a figurative echo. He had piled on one more outsize layer to his rookie season.
Harper has reached base in eight of his last 10 plate appearances, the possible start to one of the monster hot streaks he has compiled each season since junior college. None of those at-bats resonated like his second Tuesday night, with nobody on base in the third inning.
“I was going up there swinging out of my shoes, first pitch,” Harper said. “I made up my mind in the on-deck circle. It could have been a curveball, 54 feet. I was swinging.”
Alvarez threw him a first-pitch change-up, an off-speed offering to get over for strike one. Harper destroyed it.
The ball came off his bat like a cannon blast, soaring to right-center field. It never stopped gathering speed until, suddenly, it thudded off the portion of Windows restaurant covered by a BlackBerry billboard. The place may have been 450 feet from the plate. The collision sounded like a manhole cover dropped from a skyscraper. “I don’t really hit big home runs,” Harper said. “They should just be line drives that get going. That was a pretty good one. When guys are hitting around (me), it feels pretty good.”
Harper would add a bunt single in the eighth inning off left-handed reliever Darren Oliver. He tried to steal second and was picked off, a blemish the Nationals can live with. He may get himself out sometimes. The opposing pitcher, at the moment, cannot.
Some fun stuff on Nats & Harper, including video of the home run.
PS: Also, Harper's use of the phrase "That's a clown question, bro." in a post game interview last night may gain entry in the annals of popular rhetorical comebacks.
That's what he told a Canadian journalist yesterday, following his second three-hit game in a row.
The journalist asked the Nationals' Harper if he was going celebrate by drinking a beer, being that the legal drinking age in Canada is 19.
Harper, who is Mormon, rolled his eyes and said, "I'm not going to answer that. That's a clown question, bro."
PPS: to get this thread back on topic, Strasburg is now 8-1 after getting a win today over Toronto. He's the first MLB pitcher to reach 100 strikeouts this season.