My Bryce Harper Adventure

Every single day, a number of people find my blog on the Internet by searching for Washington Nationals prospect Bryce Harper. And why not? Harper is arguably the most exciting — and promising — baseball prospect to come along in years. Visitors to my blog find me by searching his name, his now-famous truck and his autograph.

Fortunately, and the reason that people find my blog when searching for Harper, I got to see him last summer when he was a member of the Hagerstown Suns. Back on June 27, I visited Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium to watch the Suns against the Lakewood Blueclaws.

Harper was nursing a minor injury and wasn’t in the lineup during my visit. But as soon as I made it to the parking lot at the rear of the ballpark, I saw his truck and knew he was around.

Here are some pictures of the truck:

This was pretty cool to see. I’ve since seen Harper post pics of his vehicles on his Twitter feed, but this was the first time I saw his ride in person.

After taking these pictures, I waited for Municipal Stadium to open and quickly secured a spot along the fence near the Suns clubhouse, waiting for Harper to come out. He finally did, just before 7 p.m., walking alongside teammate Randolph Oduber. I was waiting with camera in hand:

I was hoping for an autograph, but as you can tell from the sequence above, Harper came toward me and kept walking.

Other fans, however, were luckier. Anyone who thinks that Harper isn’t fan friendly probably isn’t speaking from experience. Even though the other players had finished signing and the first pitch was just moments away, Harper stopped and signed:

After snapping this picture, I made my way through the crowd to get a better angle. All the while, Harper signed:

And signed:

And signed:

And signed: 

He even stood waiting as a veteran climbed all the way down from the top of the bleachers to get an autograph. Not exactly the type of behavior that some in the media are focusing on, is it?

Once the game begun, Harper took a spot on the top step of the dugout:

A few innings in, he spent part of an inning serving as Hagerstown’s first base coach:

While I didn’t manage to get his autograph before the game, I didn’t give up. Thirty or 40 minutes after the final out, I met Harper beside his truck where I chatted with him for a moment and he signed my ball for me:

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6 comments

  1. bornonthirdcubs

    Nice recap and pictures. Unfortunately I think the kid is doomed from the start as far as the media’s take on him. Every story you hear will be about his attitude, and the story’s like this go without any print. So thanks for telling THIS story, it will be fun to watch him in the bigs, possibly even this year.

  2. Malcolm - TheBallparkGuide

    I’m glad to share my positive experience with him. He might not be the warm and fuzzy type, but we don’t need him to be, do we? I just want to see the guy hit home runs. If he’s a little quiet and reserved, it’s not a big deal to me. My two cents is it’s a jealousy thing — people are ticked about how much he signed for and how young he is and hold it against him. Thanks for reading!

  3. Elise

    “Fans who say Harper isn’t fan friendly probably aren’t speaking from experience.”
    I was lucky enough to see Harper in his very first minor league series with the Hagerstown Suns. The ballpark in my town is very easy to get autographs in, and I walked in thinking getting Bryce’s auto was a piece of cake. Psh…NO! I went to every game in the series and he mostly ignored the fans exactly as he ignored you in your pics of him walking by. I can understand him being overwhealmed by the publicity but get this…I got to the game extra early one day and was one of 5 fans standing alongside a rail begging him to sign after Hagerstowns BP. We were ignored. I was ever so lucky to get his auto on about the 5th try. He acually signed a good bit that time. The rest of the time he was here it was all the same, ignoring people. The fans here were fed up and stopped trying. People chanted overrated everytime he was at bat, and one guy said this as he ignored a bunch of kids, “You ain’t in the Hall of Fame yet big guy!”
    A lot of kids were let down, and I can understand him not wanting his stuff on eBay from guys with the big card binders with 10+ cards wanting him to sign all, but I was just a teenager wanting one baseball signed for my collection, and it was hard enough for me to get that. I’m sure he was oh so fan friendly at his home ballpark in Hagerstown, but the fans on the road weren’t so lucky. Chipper Jones was easier to get than Bryce, and Bryce wasn’t even in the majors at this point. The whole thing was ridiculous.

  4. Malcolm - TheBallparkGuide

    Elise: I’d say you did well to get him on your fifth try. I was definitely lucky as well. I know it’s a let-down when he skips over you (or others, including kids), but obviously, he can’t sign for everyone. Thanks for reading!
    Malcolm

  5. D Harris

    I’m a teenager right now who lives in Seattle. Bryce Harper has been my favorite player since he came up, and my dad was able to get Diamond Club tickets on Friday 8/29 when the Nationals came to play the Mariners. I brought all my Harper gear, sweatshirt, jersey, action figure, baseball cards, etc.
    Anyways, Harper came on deck right in front of the Diamond Club netting. I went up there in the 8th and showed him my action figure. After the game, after he high fived his teammates, he came over to the Diamond Club seating and autographed the base of my action figure! I agree he’s not at all what the media makes him out to be. Anyways, I just wanted to share my cool Bryce Harper story with another fan.

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