History is written by the victors, and Bryce Harper made sure he was the author of the story from Wednesday night, demolishing two home runs and leading the Philadelphia Phillies' 10-2 rout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS.
The story began in the lead-up to the game, with the simmering controversy of Orlando Arica's post-game mocking of Bryce Harper threatening to take over the narrative. Harper made sure it did take over the narrative but on his terms.
The sanctity and privacy of an MLB clubhouse, or any professional sports team's dressing room, is crucial to the fabric of sport. Access to such places is a privilege that many journalists uphold with integrity. While there are arguments to be made as to why Arcia's comments should have remained private, the fact is that they got out.
And once they were out of the box, there was no putting them back in. Eventually, Harper would inevitably hear about them, whether from media members asking questions or, as it turned out, his teammates.
"They told me," Harper explained, referring to his teammates telling him of Arcia's comments. "They looked at me. And they were like, 'What're you gonna do?'"
All Harper did was blast a game-changing home run to right field in the third inning, a three-run second-deck job that included an ice-cold staredown of Arcia behind second base.
He added a second home run in the fifth and Arcia received another staredown.
Harper revels in revenge, Braves bitter about comments getting out
In his post-game press conference, Harper revealed that he enjoyed exacting revenge on Arcia and the Braves. When asked if he took any motivation from Arcia's comments, he didn't dispute the fact.
"I mean, anytime anybody says something right?," Harper said matter-of-factly, explaining his Game 3 performance.
"Yeah, I mean, I stared right at him," Harper said when asked directly whether he enjoyed staring Arcia down.
With many coming to the defense of Arcia before the game, claiming the comments were never made, the tone changed after the Braves were handily dismantled by six Philadelphia home runs.
Following the game, Arcia seemed annoyed at the questions about Harper's two staredowns and stated that the comments were never meant to be heard outside the clubhouse.
"I can't control where he looks. He can look wherever he wants to look," Arcia said through his interpreter. "He [Harper] wasn't supposed to hear, that's why we were talking in the clubhouse."
Veteran catcher Travis d'Arnaud took a different tactic, blaming the media for letting the comments become public.
Regardless of how the comments got out and reached Harper's ears, the Braves paid a steep price for waking up one of the game's premier clutch players, especially one with as much success against Atlanta as Bryce Harper.