For a young player with a history of attitude, Bryce Harper did a lot right upon hitting his first home run Monday. After crushing a slider from Padres right-hander Tim Sauffer to dead center field, well beyond the 402 marker, Harper didn’t watch the ball, didn’t pirouette in the box, didn’t skip his way toward first and didn’t toss his bat.
What he did do: He put his head down, and he ran. (Watch it here.)
Perhaps it was the excitement of his first big league homer, but according to Tater Tot Tracker, the only guy this season to circle the bases faster than Harper’s 17.07 seconds was Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez, who ran a 16.46 primarily because he didn’t realize the ball had cleared the fence until he was already at third base.
“I don’t want to show up that pitcher,” Harper said in the Washington Post. “The only time I would do that [would be] if they were messing with my team.”
After a few moments in the dugout, Harper emerged for a curtain call. Some might take issue with a rookie taking such a liberty—especially after all of one career homer—but the crowd was clamoring and the Nationals’ broadcast crew called it “a for-sure curtain call” before Harper even made a move.
“Everyone started cheering and whatnot, and I was just standing there waiting like, should I go? Nah, I better not. Don’t do it,” said Harper in a MASNSports.com report. “Then (Jayson) Werth was like, ‘Go, get up there, kid.’ ”
All in all, well-played for the rookie, who didn’t even have to face the silent treatment in the dugout, unlike some other notable players of late. After taking the highest of high roads against Cole Hamels last week, this is another indication that, even though he’s only 19, this kid gets the game on pretty much every level.