Phillies’ Bryce Harper sends subtly heartbreaking message after MLB cancels more games

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies puts on his hat to field after popping out to end the eighth inning of game 2 in a series between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies at Truist Park on September 29, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies puts on his hat to field after popping out to end the eighth inning of game 2 in a series between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies at Truist Park on September 29, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images) /
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Bryce Harper shares Philadelphia Phillies throwback photo as MLB cancels more regular-season games

Over three months into Major League Baseball’s lockout of its own players, we know that Bryce Harper isn’t going to come out swinging against the league.

The Philadelphia Phillies star is leaving the explicit statements to Mike Trout, Max Scherzer, Marcus Stroman, and others, choosing the more subtle route instead, which is fine; the players need all kinds of ammo in their fight against the owners.

On Wednesday evening, hours after MLB rejected the players’ latest offer (which was also the league’s offer to the players on Tuesday), Harper posted a photo to his Instagram Stories.

The post was of the “No caption needed” variety, though the addition of Kenny Chesney’s song, “Summertime” was notable, given how the song begins:

"“Summertime is finally hereThat old ballpark, man, is back in gearOut on forty-nineMan I can see the lights”"

A subtle-yet-heartbreaking reminder of what this time of year usually signals, and what we’re missing now.

For Harper, it’s a chance to defend his NL MVP crown, his second the first decade of his big-league career. He led MLB in slugging, OPS, and OPS+, and tied for the lead in doubles, with a career-high 42 two-baggers. He hit .309/.429/.615 with a 1.044 OPS and homered 35 times in 141 games, an impressive improvement over his Phillies debut season in 2019, when he also hit 35 home runs, but it took 157 games.

Every day the lockout drags on is another day without Harper baseball. It’s a small comfort knowing he misses it, too.

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