Nats Fans Celebrate Bryce Harper’s Return

It’s the night Nationals fans have been waiting for since late February when Bryce Harper signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies and left the only city he’d ever played for to head up I-95 to create what should become one of the most hated rivalries in baseball. If what we’re seeing tonight means anything for the future of this rivalry, it could get real good in the stands as Phillies fans make the quick drive south for these games while D.C. fans watch their child grow up with a new team.

The Washington Post has been busy this week giving readers some backstories as to how the Nationals were left at the altar, including a story about how the Lerners, who own the Nationals, gave Harper an envelope during a rain delay at the end of the 2018 season with a $300M offer.

Harper was still in his uniform. The game hadn’t yet been called, but he was about to have a business meeting. At that time, the Nationals were the only team that could offer him a contract. The Lerners said they loved Harper, that they wanted him to be part of their future. They handed him an envelope. Harper was stunned.

“Aren’t you going to open it?” someone asked him.

Harper said no, not yet. There might be more baseball still to play. They shook hands, thanks all around.

When he got back to his locker, Harper texted Kayla: You’re not going to believe this, but they just made me an offer in the middle of this game. When the rain wouldn’t relent and the final innings were canceled, Harper went to the hallway outside the clubhouse, still in uniform, and met Kayla. Together, they opened the envelope with the Nationals’ official offer: 10 years, $300 million, with explanations of how roughly $100 million of that money would be deferred, the last payment coming in 2052.

As the story goes, the Nationals eventually offered up yet another contract that had deferred money until 2072! Quick math tells us that’s 53 years from now. Harper would’ve been 79. That’s how the story goes. You think Bobby Bonilla got paid for years. They were trying to pay Harper and he might’ve been dead.

And then the Phillies came in and stole his heart. Go read the story. It’s pretty cool how it all came together. In the end, the Nats ownership seemed to screw themselves with that initial offer during a rain delay. Now we get 13 years to see if Bryce’s gamble will pay off for the Phillies.

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