Story: Bryce Harper’s NLCS home run was a heartfelt moment in more ways than one
After the Phillies shocked the world to clinch a trip to the World Series, fans all over the city have become united.
However, there will still be negative narratives surrounding Philadelphia.
Whatever is said outside of the city never captures the reality. Moments like last Sunday don’t happen very often, especially in Philadelphia. What makes it unique, but even more remarkable, is all the moments leading up to it. Everyone has their own story, whether a casual Phillies fan or a die-hard. The culmination of the passion for the city’s sports teams is what brings it all together.
Bryce Harper’s two-run home run in the 8th inning against the Padres was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. Philly fans will tell you that moment alone may rival or come close to the Brandon Graham strip sack that led to the Eagles’ first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Anyone who knows me knows I am an emotional roller coaster during Philly sports games. The highs are incredibly high, and the lows tend to be incredibly low for me. As a result, my heart rate probably reaches unhealthy levels at times. But all of that seemed to evaporate when Harper walked up to the plate in the 8th inning of a closeout game at Citizens Bank Park.
Pictured above is my grandfather holding me well before I was aware of the sports world. We shared a unique bond; he was like the older brother I never had. As I got older, most conversations we had centered around Philly sports. I remember he would always tell me how much he liked Bryce Harper. This was, of course, during his Nationals tenure and when the Phillies were in their dark days following the ’08/’09 World Series run.
You would have thought my grandfather was a Nationals fan with how much he talked about them. His love for Harper, as well as former Phillie Jason Werth, reigned supreme. These were tough times to be a Philly fan because pretty much every team was going through a retooling period.
Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away in August 2016, just years before the first Super Bowl in Eagles history and, more importantly, when Bryce Harper decided to sign with the Phillies. It always ate me up knowing I didn’t get to share that Super Bowl victory with him.
Below is the wooden chair my grandfather would sit in whenever he came to my house. Whether it was a short visit or a family get-together, you could always find him sitting in that chair. I recall many of his Philly sports rants and Bryce Harper conversations in that chair.
Fast forward to the 8th inning of Game 5 with J.T. Realmuto on first base as the Phillies trail 3-2 with no outs. Harper begins to take his slow walk to the plate, and I can feel all the nerves and emotions of the four other people in our living room. Suddenly, in shocking fashion, I feel something pulling me to sit in that wooden chair. Keep in mind I usually stand or sit on the couch.
The next thing I know, I’m in the chair, and again, I can feel the nervous energy in my household. For some reason, my nerves and even my heartbeat slowed down. I turned stone cold and had this calm confidence inside me I’d never quite felt before. I’m not here to tell you I knew Harper was going to homer, but I knew he was about to make a huge play. Nothing was going to stop destiny.
Seven pitches led to the most iconic home run you will ever see in what felt like an eternity for everyone else. I could feel my grandfather during that entire plate appearance. His calmness, his fearlessness, that was our moment right there. My house and all of Philadelphia erupted at the moment; after I let out my classic battle yell, I instantly burst into tears.
There was some baseball left to be played, but I knew it was over after that. That was one of the most legendary sports moments I had ever seen. It was truly an out-of-body experience. This was my story, and I’m sure the millions of other lovely Philadelphia fans that also have their own stories. So when the misinformed try bringing up throwing batteries or attacking Santa Clause, know that they will never relate to or understand the best sports city in the world.
Bryce Harper, but Moneyball pic.twitter.com/9b4glvpTua— Red October Muse (@Phillies_Muse) October 24, 2022