By Tova Perlow, Special to District Sports Page
When you’re as big a fan of the Washington Nationals as I am, the wait for Bryce Harper to make his major league debut felt like an eternity. From the first time his name appeared as being associated with the Nats there’s been excitement and hype surrounding him.
This feeling was no different as he made his major league debut in Los Angeles on Saturday night. In front of 54,000+ fans, most of them booing whenever he stepped into the batter’s box, Harper’s day to shine in the big leagues had finally arrived. Going 1-for-3 on the night, Harper acquired his first major league hit – a scorching double to left-center field, and later in the evening, his first RBI off of a sacrifice fly.
Appearing to feel comfortable in the big leagues from his very first swing, Harper approached the game with confidence. Even when he wasn’t up to bat, Bryce seemed like the eager, enthusiastic, yet, un-experienced nineteen-year-old rookie that he actually is.
Watching from the visiting dugout at Dodgers Stadium, he was leaning over the railing, taking in every moment of his big day. His eyes never left the game and before it was his turn to approach the on-deck circle, he stood on the steps of the dugout ready to place his cleats on the dirt as soon as he was able.
A major league debut is a lasting memory for any young prospect, and Bryce Harper has every reason to remember and be proud of his first game in the bigs. He got his first taste of stardom, and (maybe) even won over a few new fans, as some of the boos turned to cheers after connecting for his inaugural double. One young fan was especially over-zealous, jumping the fence and racing towards Harper in the outfield during the bottom of the ninth inning, only to be tackled by a swarm of security personnel and escorted off the field. There was definitely no lack of excitement for number 34, and it was only day one.
At the end of the day, the game didn’t go our way. Matt Kemp spoiled the Nats evening with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth and the Dodgers won by a score of 4-3. But regardless of this outcome, at least I can say the following with confidence: “Welcome Bryce Harper!!! We’re going to be seeing a lot of you over the years, and I’m sure that our high expectations will only continue to grow, and be met, as we see your talent mature.”