Fans’ wild theory after Bryce Harper injury, Fernando Tatis Jr. suspension

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Phillies slugger Bryce Harper appears to be affected by the ‘Dairy Queen Curse.’

Philadelphia sports athletes have been no strangers to bad luck over the years. Among them includes the infamous “Madden curse” — with 2006 cover athlete and Philadelphia Eagles star quarterback Donovan McNabb requiring surgery to repair a sports hernia. Philadelphia Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper appears to be the latest to be “cursed” — not by a video game series, but rather an American soft serve ice cream and fast food restaurant chain.

As USA Today’s Bob Nightengale points out, the reigning National League MVP — who has been sidelined since late June with a broken thumb — just might be part of the “Dairy Queen Curse.”

Harper was among four players Dairy Queen selected at the start of the season to promote its products — with the others being Tim Anderson (Chicago White Sox), Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers), and Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego Padres). Each of their 2022 seasons has not gone as planned, to say the least.

Not only has Harper been on the injured list for the past two months after a Blake Snell fastball fractured his thumb, but he was also unable to play right field for nearly the entire season prior due to an elbow injury. Harper last played in the team’s 73rd game of the season — having logged 15 home runs and 48 RBI. He was well on his way to logging 30 home runs and 100 RBI in the respective categories.

Anderson, meanwhile, recently underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in the middle finger of his left hand  — making him unavailable for at least the next six weeks. Before his injury, the two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner was slashing .301/.339/.395 with 19 extra-base hits, 25 RBI, and 13 stolen bases in 79 games.

Bellinger — who was named National League Rookie of the Year (2017) and Most Valuable Player (2019) — has remained healthy this season, but is only slashing .210/.267/.402 with 111 strikeouts through 102 games (entering Saturday).

Lastly, Tatis Jr. was at the center of Major League Baseball controversy on Friday, when it was announced he was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. With his Padres among the teams competing with the Phillies for a Wild Card spot, manager Rob Thomson’s squad surely took note. The two-time Silver Slugger missed the entire season before his suspension, recovering from a mid-March surgery to repair the scaphoid bone in his left wrist.

It could just be bad luck, or an actual “curse,” but what are the odds each of Harper, Anderson, Bellinger, and Tatis Jr. would have these types of seasons?

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