The Phillies came out of the gate on fire by sweeping the Braves during opening weekend. What can we take away from the series?
A lot was going to be made of the first series of the year for the Phillies. They made plenty of moves during the offseason and promised they were ready to make noise this season. The team did just that over the weekend, sweeping the 2018 NL East champion Braves and announcing their presence on the national stage.
After a big series win, what can we take away from the first three of hopefully many wins this season?
Bryce Harper is ready to fit in
Throughout the offseason, a common theory was that Bryce Harper did not want to play in Philadelphia, or was at best lukewarm to the city as a whole. There were rumors he wanted to play in a glamorous city like New York or Los Angeles, but instead, he decided to put down roots for 13 years in Philadelphia.
After saying all the right things in his introductory press conference, Harper had his first face-to-face interaction with the city on Opening Day. Not only did he feel right at home, but he reveled in the environment.
The first step was wearing bright green, Phillie Phanatic cleats, which were reciprocated at the next game Saturday:
Next, Harper got a standing ovation when he was introduced before the game and again from the fans in right when he took the field to start the game.
While Harper was quiet at the plate on Opening Day (he still received cheers after his first groundout), he did some damage in the ensuing two games. His first of many home runs as a Phillie came in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game when he launched one into the second deck:
Then on Sunday on national TV, Harper took another one deep, not as far but way higher. In fact, its 139-foot apex was taller than Citizens Bank Park itself. The ESPN crew could do nothing but marvel at Harper’s moonshot:
With everything he did on and off the field this weekend, its clear Harper is ready to enshrine himself in Philadelphia. Even better, the city is too.