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Bryce Harper’s return to Washington absolutely lived up to the hype.

By Dan Gartland
April 03, 2019

He treated this like a World Series game

Bryce Harper’s return to Washington absolutely lived up to the hype. The atmosphere at Nationals Park was electric right from the jump, even though fans had to sit through a 45-minute rain delay. There was a sizable Philadelphia contingent that made its way to D.C.—including entire sections of the rightfield seats—so the reception was a little mixed. But every Nationals fan was on their feet showering Harper with boos when he came to the plate in the first inning. 

Washington fans have never cheered so loudly for a first-inning April strikeout as they did for this one. 

Scherzer struck Harper out again in the third and the roar from the crowd was just as intense. But then Harper turned the tables. 

He had a double in the fifth and an RBI single in the sixth, celebrating the first with a Fortnite wave and the second with the kind of fury you never see in a team’s fourth game of the season. 

Harper has been doing that wave since spring training but I doubt Nationals fans knew that, which makes it that much more funny.

The real fun came in the eighth, though, when Harper crushed a deep, deep home run and celebrated it with an emphatic bat flip. 

I just want to see every angle of that bat flip. 

And when I say he crushed it, he crushed it. The ball left the bat at 112 mph and traveled 458 feet, making it his fifth-longest homer since MLB started publicly releasing Statcast data in 2015.

This is Bryce Harper at his best, and not just in the 3-for-5 with three RBIs sense. Harper’s intensity rubs some people the wrong way but there’s no denying that last night’s game was one of the most entertaining April games in recent memory. Harper added to that sense not only by stepping up in the clutch but by playing into the crowd’s hate with his celebrations. 

Check out the full highlights here:

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It turns out the owner of the AAF was not bluffing when he said he’d shutter the league this week. Just eight weeks into its inaugural season, the league is done. The league was even more of a clown show than we could have imagined, according to SI’s Robert Klemko.

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Email dan.gartland@simail.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.

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