When Bryce Harper signed his 13 year $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in March of 2019, he brought some uncomfortable baggage along with him to the City of Brotherly Love. No, it wasn't his Washington Nationals jersey, we all know how quick MV3 was willing to jettison that article of clothing once the ink dried on his contract offer. Out with the old and in with the new.
No, it was something else, something far worse that combines the color silver with a little blue star that Philadelphia sports fans don't like very much. Yeah that one. It's hard to say out loud, never mind think, so we'll just get it over with: Bryce Harper arrived in Philadelphia as a Dallas Cowboys fan.
But people do change, and now Harper is a Philadelphia Eagles fan just like the rest of us. Appearing in a hype video ahead of the prime time Eagles vs Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, the Phillies superstar first baseman made his change in football loyalty official. Sadly, it didn't inspire an Eagles victory, but it was still cool to watch.
The first step is admitting you have a problem, and for Harper, two decades and counting without a Super Bowl trophy probably brought about a moment of clarity. Either way, this "work thing" seems to be paying off for Harper and Philadelphia sports fans. Will it pay more and with a few more years attached to it?
Repping the Eagles in this hype video is another example of how Harper has embraced Philadelphia, and nothing about it seems contrived or phony. Playing in a city with a passionate fan base and a reputation as being one of the toughest in American sports, Harper has repeatedly proven that building that relationship is actually a pretty easy thing to do if you understand that responsibility.
Bryce Harper is proof of what happens when you don't treat the location you play in like just another zip code for seven months of the year and acknowledge in simple ways that you understand the culture and the people who occupy that place. It's clear that Harper's off-field legacy is just as important to him as the one he'll eventually leave on the field.