The Harper Factor has officially set in, despite the Phillies only playing five games.
As we all know, the Phillies swept the three game series against the Atlanta Braves this past weekend, and won the first of two against the Nationals on Tuesday before today’s heartbreaking loss.
However, something has happened within the Phillies’ world that happens maybe once or twice in a Phillies fan’s lifetime.
No baseball lifer can explain it and no coach or manager can game-plan it. What happened this past weekend and in D.C. was the culmination of requests being met and mutual respect being put on display for the whole baseball world to see.
As a result, a lifetime Philadelphia bond was signed, sealed and delivered, in only four games.
The Harper Factor and what it means
The love shown by and to Harper was the start of an appreciation Philadelphia fans have only felt for a handful of athletes. The Answer, Nick Foles, Doc, Dawk, BG, Bobby Clarke and Reggie. And now, Bryce.
Was it the Phanatic cleats? The 465-foot homer? Was it the fist bumps, the handshakes with seemingly every player and the bows to the right field faithful? Yes, yes it was. But, it was so much more.
He chose us. We chose him. He wants to be here. We want him to be here. But it’s even more than that. Now, the Phillies are a real threat to win the National League pennant.
He makes others better
The Philies’ lineup is filled with All-Stars, MVPs and fan favorites. But Harper stirs it all together. We saw it in the first three games.
On opening day, Atlanta chose to walk Harper in the seventh inning to load the bases to pitch to Rhys Hoskins, who hit a grand slam. We saw it on Saturday, with the aforementioned 465-foot bomb. And we saw it on Sunday Night Baseball with Harper being on base four times.
Also, Harper has the “it” factor, an attribute no other player currently has in the majors. Just the sound of his monstrous home runs are different. His first home run trailed only Ryan Howard for the longest ever in Citizens Bank Park history.
The way he fires up the crowd, mind you, in his first five games, echoes an Iverson and Embiid-type connection.
Since his arrival, his No. 3 jersey has become the best selling jersey of any player in sports. Add the hundreds of Phillies’ fans that flocked down to D.C. the past two days to support him against the Nationals, and it’s safe to say we have his back just as much as he has ours.
The most glaring and assuring part of the opening series against the Braves was the way Bryce included his teammates and his honest appreciation of us, the fans.
In addition, this is the first time in franchise history that the club has the most recognizable player in the majors on the roster. It took until just before the first pitch of the season for the fans to show their love, and for Bryce to give it right back.
The Harper Factor is real
It has been a long time since the Phillies have been the talk of the town, and we as fans are loving every second of it.
Thus, the energy and pulse has been lacking in the rebuilding years, but has quickly returned, thanks to Harper.
Since 2011, the last time the club made the playoffs, how many years were we as a fan-base actually proud of the team? In addition, of the previous seven seasons, how many times was it a party-like atmosphere for an entire game? And finally, how many Sunday Night Baseball games did we host?
Therefore, the Harper factor is real, folks.
Now, it is cool again to be at Citizens Bank Park. It’s exciting down at the park and the current talent level mirrors the days of Howard, Rollins and Utley.
As a result, being a Phillies’ fan means being a fan of Bryce Harper, and we could not be happier.