Less than three months ago, Bryce Harper was playing minor league baseball. On Tuesday night in Kansas City, he may make his first appearance in a Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Harper, a 19-year-old rookie for the Washington Nationals, got the call to join the team when Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton had to go under the knife earlier this week.
Like him or not, Harper’s been one of the top stories in baseball in the first half of the season and was the right pick to join the team. He’s irked some with his all-out hustle on the field as well as some moments off of it (see: That’s a clown question, bro), but he’s off to a fantastic start, particularly for someone with that much hype, and has helped the Washington Nationals to the best record in the National League.
Bryce Harper joined 106.7 The Fan in Washington D.C. with Holden and Danny to discuss making the All-Star team, if he ever expected it when he got called up in late April, the adjustments he’s made on the field, how life has changed off of it, some of his favorite moments of the first half of the season and the “that’s a clown question, bro” saga.
When did you actually find out you would be going to the All-Star Game?:
“I found out the same time you guys did, pretty much. After the game, Davey called me in and everybody’s standing there, so I just walked in and he said, ‘Congratulations, you’re going to the All-Star Game.’ It was a pretty exciting time and I just tried to take in that moment and tried to enjoy it.”
When you got called up earlier this year, could you have envisioned being a 19-year-old All-Star?:
“Not really. I just tried to come in here and tried to make things erupt a little bit and try to get some Ws up there on the board. We had a winning team when I got up here, so that made the transition easier, definitely. … This is just a great experience and great moment.”
What adjustments have you seen opponents make and what have you adjusted in return?:
“It’s different every week. There’s guys that come at me and guys that throw a lot of offspeed and things like that. You just try to go in and take one at-bat at a time, one pitch at a time and live in that moment. Not get too high, not get too low and stay as even-keeled as you can.”
How has your life changed?:
“I don’t think it’s changed at all. Playing and growing up playing I think really got me ready for everything like this. … It’s just a game that I love to play and I don’t think that’s ever going to leave me. I think I’ve still got that little kid in me, that desire to have fun and play the game of baseball every day.”
Is there anything you would’ve done differently in your first few months in the bigs?:
“I live with no regrets. Going in and every single day trying to do the best I can and not worry about what happened yesterday or the day before. … As long as we get that W by the end of the day and we’re still in first place, that’s all that matters to me. I’m excited for the second half. I think everybody in here’s excited. We just want to try to be in the playoffs and bring a title back to this town.”
Have you had a moment where you look back and say, ‘I can’t believe that happened?’”:
“I’m not sure. Maybe the walk-off or, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but hitting the home run against Johnny Venters. I was pretty shocked by that. I think I got kind of lucky, but I think that was one of the good moments, hitting a lefty like that.”
What’s been your biggest highlight of the first half?:
“I’m not sure. That thing against Cole Hamels was pretty much a perfect storm, you could say. It was just he hit me and I just took it and wore it the best I could. … Before the game we were looking at some video and trying to think, if I got on third base, what could I do? … You try to put that thought process into that. I’d have to say that, being able to steal home and that moment and winning that game and just trying to get going.”
On the “clown question, bro” comment and how it’s blown up:
“I think it’s been like that since I was younger. I’d rather be a good person off the field than be a good baseball player on the field. I want to be as good as I can off the field for these fans and this town. … When somebody asks me a question like that, I think it’s a little disrespectful and that was the first thing that came to my mind.”