Much has been said about the Philadelphia Phillies' 13-year, $330 million commitment to Bryce Harper, especially after he appeared to be on a downward trajectory following a torrid NL MVP-winning 2015 season. Some were optimistic that the then-26 year old will age well and live up to the contract, while some were worried that Harper's best days may have already been behind him.
However, in season four of Harper's contract, the Phillies have done the unthinkable and made the World Series. And it was Harper's go-ahead two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning that sent Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy, giving the Phillies a lead they would not relinquish.
And the entire Phillies dugout loved every little bit of such an exhilarating moment.
Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler, who turned in an impressive Game 5 performance himself, shed light on just how much Bryce Harper, the 2022 NLCS MVP, means not only to the Phillies, but to the ever-passionate sports fans in Philadelphia.
“That's the reason we signed [Harper], the city loves him, and you can't say enough about the guy,” Wheeler said, per ESPN. “He just has the thing in him. He just has that in him where he steps up in big moments. I don't know, he's always been a dude. It was always fun to compete against him, but it's a lot more fun when he's on your team.”
First baseman Rhys Hoskins, who had a torrid NLCS, hitting four home runs and seven runs batted in, described the scene of their eighth inning-euphoria as one of “pure chaos”. In addition, Hoskins and pitcher Zach Eflin also made sure to note that there's a huge, justifiable reason why Bryce Harper gets paid the big bucks.
“I don't think anyone was surprised. This guy has a knack for coming up in big moments. It is what he has done his whole career. We have seen it so many times, obviously not on this stage. MV3,” Hoskins said.
“I think everybody was ready for him to face anybody who came in,” Eflin said. “[…] It was so much fun watching J.T. get that base hit and Harper coming up after him. We knew they were in trouble.”
Phillies fans will now be hoping that Bryce Harper carries over his insane level of play into the World Series against the vaunted Houston Astros and perhaps complete the quartet of playoff hurdles the Phillies have had to overcome as the underdogs.