Phillies: Bryce Harper shocks fan on Fortnite for birthday

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies’ Bryce Harper connects with fans more than just at the ballpark

Any news regarding the Philadelphia Phillies and the popular Fortnite videogame have not historically been positive. But, star outfielder Bryce Harper is changing the narrative, and recently used his live stream of him playing the video game to surprise a young fan two days before his 13th birthday.

It all began with former first baseman Carlos Santana being “so livid” that his teammates played it during games two years ago, that he reportedly “grabbed a bat and smashed a TV.” Then came last season when Phillies players, including Harper, used Fortnite emotes as part of celebrations. Their most notable emote used was the “wave.

Now, Harper is taking the Phillies’ ties to the game one step further. Last month amid Harper’s extra time at home in Las Vegas during the MLB season shutdown, gaming management company Loaded struck a deal with his agent, Scott Boras, so they could partner to build the six-time All-Star’s gaming presence.

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“It’s something that fans can kind of see both sides,” Harper said in a recent interview with Rawlings. “I’m trying to grow that side of my life a little bit, with the gaming and things like that, and try to get them into my life — more away from baseball.

A 13th birthday to remember

With Phillies games canceled at the time amid the pandemic, Harper hosted almost daily Fortnite live streams; sometimes he teamed up with close friends, including fellow Las Vegas native and Phillies 2019 first-round pick infielder, Bryson Stott. Other times, he would use the platform to team up with fans.

Harper recalled one time he recently played with a young fan that resulted in him “bawling” in happiness.

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“I was able to play with a kid. I got on and I was adding some kids from my chat,” he said. “He was bawling crying and was like, ‘I can’t believe this. This is incredible It’s my birthday in two days. I’m going to turn 13 years.'”

Harper said it was “really cool” to see the effect that people, like himself, can have on each other, especially during rough current times during the pandemic: “It’s pretty hard for people right now and to be able to just get on there, communicate, have some fun, and make somebody’s day better, that’s what it’s all about.”

The young fan’s mom even thanked Harper during the live stream for his generous deed, saying: “I don’t know what to say. I just want to tell you ‘thank you so much!'”