Bryce Harper is young. Bryce Harper is a phenom. Bryce Harper has found his home. According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Harper has fallen in love with Washington D.C. and hopes to play his entire career in the city. Being born and raised in Las Vegas, Harper always considered Vegas as his home. Now, the 19 year-old man has found the place where he loves the people and feels the love in return.
As Kilgore reports, Bryce Harper speaks to his father, Ron Harper, almost every day. After a recent road trip, Bryce was speaking to his father and said, “I can’t wait to go home, Pop.” Ron was taken aback when he realized that Bryce was speaking about D.C. and not Las Vegas. Ron said it was his first time hearing his son speak of somewhere other than Vegas as his home.
Bryce Harper hit the Major League scene earlier than many expected but with all of the hype that most expected. Harper failed to disappoint, as he has displayed tremendous talent and energy on the ball field. The Washington Nationals (43-31) are in first place in the National League East, and the fans are responding with much love and respect.
This love and respect has won the heart of Bryce Harper. He is also in tune with the history of baseball and the highly respected players that have spent their entire careers with one team, such as Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken. While sitting in the dugout in Baltimore’s Camden Yards last weekend, Harper had this to say:
You look at Cal Ripken. You look at Derek Jeter. You look at all the greats that played for one team their whole career. I want to be like that. I’ve always wanted to be like that. I’ve always wanted to play with that same team.
Having a community and fans like we do in D.C. that love our players, love everything about us, we deserve to give something back to them. I want to do that. I don’t want to do anything else.
The best thing about D.C. is the people. They are so nice and genuine. Seeing us on the streets, it’s just like ‘Hey, I don’t want to bother you, but it’s nice to meet you. You’re doing a great job.’ They’re so nice. I got the vibe right when I got to D.C. I was like, ‘These people actually care about their athletes. They actually care about the people around them.’ They just want the best for us.
Only three Nationals players make the D.C. area their home during the winter months. Harper is strongly considering joining Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Steve Lombardozzi in becoming the fourth player to make D.C. his year-long home.
It is refreshing to hear a young superstar speak on the love he has for his new city and the wish to remain for his entire career. This is obviously great news for Nationals fans, but there is another reality that lurks. If and when Harper continues to grow as a player and reaches his potential, he will be in high demand once his contract is up and free agency hits. Harper is currently signed through 2015, when he is set to make $1,000,000. By then, there is no telling what Harper’s open market value may be, so things may get complicated on the business end after a few years. Remember, MLB is a business, and Harper is only 19 years old. Hopefully for Harper and the Nationals’ fans, the team will have the money to sign Bryce to a lengthy contract. After all, the Nationals are winning, and Harper is becoming the face of the franchise.