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Most significant moments: The debut

Dec 28, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper dazzled at the plate and in the field during his debut weekend in L.A.

As we count down the final days of 2012, we're also counting down the Nationals' five most significant moments of the year. It all culminates on Dec. 31 with your vote for the most significant moment of 2012. Today we focus on Moment No. 4: Bryce Harper's debut…

The Nationals never intended to promote Bryce Harper to the big leagues quite so soon. Sure, they were confident the 19-year-old would make an impact at the highest level of the sport at some point in 2012, but the plan was to hold off a bit longer, perhaps until June or July before summoning the game's top prospect from Class AAA.

But after a spate of early season injuries to, among others, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse, general manager Mike Rizzo felt he had no choice but to promote Harper on April 28 and give the kid a chance to play every day for a team that had already stormed out of the gates to seize first place in the NL East.

"Suffice it to say, this isn't the coming-out party for Bryce that we had in mind," Rizzo said in announcing the roster move one dayRead more »

  1. MicheleS - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    I can't wait to watch him this year!

  2. baseballswami - Dec 28, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Sometimes I have to remind myself to take it all in and pay attention. I forget that he's not just our Bryce, but will probably turn out to be a significant figure in MLB. He already is, just from his stand out rookie year. The biggest surprise and joy for me has been discovering what a truly good person he is.

  3. original Nats Fan - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    my favorite Bryce moment of 2012 is his stealing home on Hamels.

  4. Jim Webster - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Second that.

  5. Jim Webster - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Second that.

  6. Gonat - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Bryce Harper, Rookie Of The Year. 'Nuff said.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    yeah not much to say besides that excited to see him coming season be better than last season.

  8. SCNatsFan - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    this thresd, like all threads, will move towards an ALR discussion.Bryce, keep it up and loving the maturity.

  9. JayB - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. JayB - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I recall saying this many times last year.He is once "ever" type player.He is the best player in NL right now.At 19 years old he has the baseball IQ of Joe Morgan, Hustle of Pete Rose, attention to detail of Johnny Bench (yes I grew up watching Reds of the early 70's) and raw talent of Ken Griffey Jr.He IS the most exciting man in baseball.

  11. realdealnats - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Yeah, stealing home, and all the plotting at 1B timing Hamels. You could see it in his eye. Then that instinctive jump to second and flashing his speed all the way to third. Made stealing home for that first stolen base like stealing Hamel's crown jewels.Like everyone else I feel that The Kid has no perceivable ceiling. So when I figure his contributions into the lineup this year or into a corner OF position, I often get conservative and just add a conservative percentage of production and growth. But then you remember how GREAT he is! It's a real gift being able to watch him and SS and the whole crew–including Rizzo and Davey. I'm soaking it up. And Grateful. Happy New Year to Everyone–a safe, healthy, happy, love-filled, prosperous (flat is the new up!), and fascinating year to All.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    JayB @8:17, we are not used to this side of yours. show it more often. :P

  13. natsfan1a - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    As with SS, media coverage was a factor with Harper's debut and beforehand, what with all the national news stories citing anonymous sources as to what a, er, jerk he was supposed to be. He was also a teenager. Not sure what their excuse was. But I digress.Also loved the steal of home (and hat tip to Jayson for providing the kid with the seed of an idea there). On the personal accountability front, before the season began, I was one of those saying that the team should not rush to bring Harper up. Yeah, that seems to have worked out okay. mmmm…crow…nom nom… :-)

  14. JayB - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    it is there often….I just have very high expectations….these were developed from 2005-2010 sitting with season ticket holders who all knew what truly bad baseball looked like. What truly incompetent GM and Managers looked like and what truly cheap owners do.Based on that time with some great people…I vowed that when the time came I would not settle for good baseball. I would not accept making the playoffs as a goal. Nope this team set a course of extreme lows and that has to be repaid in World Series wins.

  15. JaneB - Dec 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Third that. Though he had an awesome throw to home to nail a runner more than once, till they learned You Don't Run On The Kid.

  16. SonnyG10 - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    I loved all his great and exciting plays, but what really sticks in my mind is his ability to make adjustments on the fly at the plate. One of my favorite memories is when he softly placed a line drive into short left field after being pitched to so toughly. It was like he was just toying with the pitcher.

  17. Another_Sam - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    IMHO, the debut clearly defined the 2012 season. In my mind, it's the most signifcant event of the year, and it set the tone for the rest of the season.

  18. alexva - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    JayB, Bryce is one of two players on this team that would not be here had the Nats made an attempt to be less horrible. I don't have to name the other. in view of that, can't you forgive them and move on?on another note, your posts are a valuable part of this site, nothing I say is meant to stifle them; as if

  19. The Fox - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Its his baseball instincts and his quick adjustments at the plate that surprised me. At his age I don't think I've seen better. Not A-Rod, not Griffey Jr. I don't think we have seen the moment yet where the light switch goes on.

  20. JayB - Dec 28, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    No I can not forgive Robert Fick, Nook Logan, FLOP and the long running joke of pitching that they ran out there for 5 years or so….and you do not need number 1 pick to have generational players….see Drew Storen and Mike Trout. It is never OK to be bad on purpose and that is what Lerners did. Yes they got two No 1's but the cost was too high in my view. Every other great team got their great players without losing on purpose or having the first pick. See Giants for a team that did not have to lose on purpose to get great draft talent.

  21. The Fox - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    There was also a throw from the center field wall to third base that you almost never see attempted. Replays showed the runner just barely got in under the tag but the umpire called him out because he couldn't believe the throw. When you watch baseball a lot you anticipate certain things on the field. With Harper you see plays that you don't anticipate and I just love that. It makes me feel like a kid again.

  22. SCNatsFan - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    JayB, what people fail to remember is how Bud and his cromies decimated the minors of the Expos and Nats, not just allowing talent to leave but forcing any employee who was worth anything to leave the franchise. Sure we trodded out horrible players but this franchise didn't just need a new coat of paint, it needed to be torn down and be rebuilt.

  23. fast eddie - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    JayB:You mentioned Drew Storen as an example that you don't need a number 1 pick to get a generational player. I think he went as the ninth pick in the first round, when we also got SS as number 1. So, being awful got us two high picks that year.

  24. Feel Wood - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Haters gotta hate. They don't gotta move on or forgive or listen to reason or none of that stuff. Haters gotta hate. Period.

  25. Section 222 - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Fast Eddie, I think JB was alluding to the fact that we picked Drew Storen when we could have had Mike Trout. Of course, a lot of other teams passed on Trout as well. Not that he needs any defense from me but the people who insist on calling JayB a "hater," day after day, seem a lot more hate filled than JayB.I enjoyed the throws Harper made when runners were afraid of running on his arm almost as much as the ones that nailed a runner. But as great as his arm is, it was his hustle that really marked him as someone special. The guy is always looking to take the extra base. He sees every single as a potential double, every gap shot as a potential triple. That attitude created runs and won games all year long, and at times his style seemed to inspire the vets (like when Zim took second on a fly ball to left). That's what a leader does, even when he's not crushing the ball, which Harper is going to do even more this year than last.

  26. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    I think it would have been foolish to pour a lot of money on three or four expensive free agents when the rest of the team was drek. It needed time to develop. I agree that the Lerners were inexperienced owners and reportedly cut corners on things like not paying vendors in a timely fashion, but they also did not have a good staff yet.If you look at teams like the Pirates or Royals, you see that there can be a long, long drought– imagine twenty or more seasons! It's somewhat amazing to me that the Nats have come so far in just a few years.

  27. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Wow, JayB catching religion. I am totally with you on the Kid being the most exciting player in baseball. And the way he works, he's only going to get better.

  28. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Harper is just flat out a National treasure. Many of the members on this blog thought that he should've come up right out of spring training. I was on the fence, but no one thought that he would be as sensational as he was right out of the gate when he came up.He came up with all of these preconceived notions that he was a jerk, and boy, did the press ever paint that picture wrong!Bryce and Trout may well be the two best emerging young stars since Mantle and Mays.As to the Nats "losing on purpose," I never quite saw it that way. I saw a picked over club that was dumped on DC by MLB that was totally bankrupt of a farm system. Frank Robinson did an amazing job with very little to work with, but even then, this was a very bad baseball club. I never liked our chances with Manny, even if he'd had good talent, which of course he didn't. I wanted Jim Riggleman to succeed because of the "hometown guy" part, but after one year I detested his style and his decision making, but never did I think that the Nats were trying to lose. No,they just sucked.Bad. We went to many games every year in spite of how bad they were, because we pleaded for baseball to return for over 30 years, and so we felt obligated to support them.But about four years ago I really felt that they were building a good organization, though the ML club was still awful. The biggest move was dumping Bowden and promoting Rizzo.Even then Davey Johnson was a "Jimminy Cricket" on Rizzo's shoulder, giving advice. When Riggleman fell into disfavor with the fan base, and possible replacements were being discussed, I was ridiculed on this board for saying that they didn't have to look outside of their existing payroll for their next manager. Davey was the perfect choice, though it seemed nobody else thought there was a chance in hell that he'd return to the dugout. Now, after he took over from Riggleman, I don't think that winning every game in 2011 was his primary concern, though he wasn't trying to lose either. DJ was molding his roster and clubhouse with 2012 in mind.Right now I honestly believe re-signing ALR is the most urgent move that the Nats need to make for the 2013 season.As I said at the end of the last thread, Adam makes the IF better, and by doing that, he makes the pitchers better. I love Morse, but we won most of our games without him while he was on the DL last year. I love Mikey's bat, but with this pitching staff we can win without putting up a zillion runs, but we can't with crappy defense. Those that really believe that you don't lose much with MM at 1B are delusional, IMHO. ALR's glove, or lack of it, will decide who finishes in first place in the NL East. Get him back. Now.

  30. MurrayTheRed - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Agree completely!

  31. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Actually, the rest of the team wasn't total "drek," because you did have Ryan Zimmerman and a couple of other guys who stuck it out through the misery, so I didn't mean to trash them. But if you had spent money on expensive free-agents, you might, I mean, MIGHT have had 5-7 guys on the 25-man roster who were above AAAA-level. That isn't enough. The Nats had no farm system with which to make trades or promote decent players, no scouts, few good trainers or coaches in the minor-league system–that doesn't come overnight.The Red Sox are trying to rebuild their team through free agency and trades. (Same for the Dodgers). It will be interesting to see how that works.

  32. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    For example, you had Ian Desmond through some of the dark years, but he had not matured as a player. So, I suppose you could have traded him and got Reyes or Hanley Ramirez–or some superstar like that–but Rizzo went with the "patience" plan.

  33. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    NatsLady, they did make a half-hearted attempt to sign Mark Texeira fairly early on.

  34. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Yes, I remember that. And also, Greinke. So, there was also the situation that they had to overpay for Werth because free agents would not come to DC. In retrospect, that Werth deal might have been the turnaround point. It would have been stupid to make that deal (even if possible) in 2007.

  35. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Thank goodness the Lerners have learned to treat baseball as a business, not a table at a baseball memorabilia flea market. They were sold a bill of goods by Kasten; there never was a "Plan," at least there wasn't a plan to be so bad as to be so lucky to nab two generational talents in successive drafts. Bowden in turn sold Kasten a bill of goods on his ability to identify "leaders" and "teachers" such as Acta and Riggelman, and "talents" such as FLOP and Smiley. The Lerners could have shopped for trading cards the way Kasten and Colletti are spending other people's money in LA, but instead opted to clean out the attic and turn things over to Rizzo and ultimately Johnson and spend money only on the things that would build a talented, cohesive team for the long term. Don't ever sell the Lerners short as "cheap." Just because they are gazillionaires doesn't mean they have to run the Nats as a public charity. As successful business people, we should hope they build the Nats as a successful business that wins games, has a great brand ("Natitude") and makes plenty of money that can be reinvested in the product.

  36. flynnie - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    The 2005 team converted me from being a Braves fan. It happened while cheering for the Chief who was saving a 3-2 game game against the Btaves at RFK. The Chief, never one to make things dull, walked the Braves' first baseman, Adam LaRoche (!) whom the Braves pinch ran for with Ryan Langerans (!!). We were on our feet, screaming for the 3rd out, and the Chief obliged by striking out Frenchie (i.e. Francouer). I realized that I had just been cheering against my old team, and that the Nats had become 1st in my heart. What a year! Bang, zoom!

  37. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Harper's debut had three separate "sub-highlights." One was the opening weekend in LA where he demonstrated (A) the talent was as advertised and (B) he was a multi-dimensional player, not just a hitter. The second was the public de-pantsing of Hamels, where Harper showed that his talent was coupled with an attitude that harkened back to hard-asses like the Gashouse Gang, the Go-Go Sox and the Stargell Pirates and that he knew how to make game-changing plays without his bat or his glove. The third "highlight" was the whole month of September where he showed that he had learned virtually everything the league tried to defeat him and put up a month's worth of MVP numbers.

  38. flynnie - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    And then there was the golden sombrero against Andy Pettite.

  39. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Good re-telling, Theo. Thing is, before the third highlight was a long slump when plenty of people were calling for Davey to sit Bryce or drop him lower in the order… Oh. Fans.

  40. flynnie - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    One of my favorite moments was when Dave Jaegler asked Davey had he ever known a pitcher to admit hitting a batter the way Hamels had with Bryce. "No, that's a first. I attribut it to Hamels being a left hander."

  41. Section 222 - Dec 28, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Nice memories flynnie. I remember another game at RFK against the Braves, a day game near the end of the season where the Chief blew the save, giving up successive homeruns to Chipper and Andruw Jones with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth. The Chief was a high wire act for sure.By then my conversion to Nats fandom was complete. I'm not sure when it happened exactly because as the season started I assumed I'd follow the Nats (I went in on season tickets with a friend), but maintain my loyalty to the Pirates. Then in late June, the Pirates came to town for their one visit that year and I made plans to go to all three games, fully expecting to root for my boyhood team. Much to my surprise, I found myself cheering wildly as Nats swept and the Chief saved all three games.It's been all Nats ever since.

  42. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Flynnie–I had forgotten that. One of Davey's BEST lines!

  43. UnkyD - Dec 28, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I just was youtubing for The Kid's highlights, and watched two 7+ minnit reels… Regarding the Hamels Confrontation (which I believe is at the top of this list), neither reel told the whole story… That's a 3 play highlight: The Plunking, First to third (on a ball hit to shallow left, IIRC), and then stealing home, on the pick off attempt… I'm thinking Hamels musta thought to himself "ok, so THIS is what all the fuss is about……). One of the reels showed only the steal, the other only the plunking and the steal. "Hello, MLB? Plunk me all you want… It'll prolly cost you at least a run!".

  44. flynnie - Dec 28, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Section 222 – Part of it is that the Nats were such underdogs, and, as Roger Angel said in Ken Burns' Baseball, "There's a lot more Met than Yankee in all of us." It will be interesting to see how the team's excellence affects us. So far, I want them to go 162-0. I was overjoyed to hear Billy Ripken, Ken Rosenthal and John Heyman say on MLB Tonight that the Nats are the best team in baseball again this year. Builly said the acquisition of Haren at number 4 is a significant upgrade to a great starting rotation. Heyman said that Rizzo's acquisition of Span was "genius." Rosenthal said that the Nats are so good that they have "an issue of surplus" with LaRoche or Morse, which will work out well either way. And they have Strasburg all year, with Robothal thought very significant. Heyman said that LaRoche belongs with the Nats and Napoli with the Red Sox (Napoli has the highest batting average of any right hander in Fenway – ever) and that Rizzo will pick up a left handed reliever. So, from underdog to overlord, and it doesn't bother me yet. They seem as fragile as ever to me.

  45. 3on2out - Dec 28, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    When my wife was named STH of the Month in May of 2011 http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/sth/sth_of_the_month_hof.jsp?my=052011 the swag included a signed Stephen Strasburg jersey or a signed Bryce Harper jersey. She opted for the then 18-year old Harper's. He didn't even have a MLB at bat yet but she was on the bandwagon. I thought he would benefit from playing most of 2012 in Syracuse but I couldn't have been more wrong. He added an electricity to this team that was palatable all season. But less we get too overwhelmed with his wonderfulness (which is considerable) he did drive me crazy with his need to show off his arm and throw to the wrong base.

  46. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    UnkyD, I always thought that there could've been another part to that highlight sequence if things hd gone according to Bryce's plan. After the steal of home, Bryce bunted to Hamels, but I honestly think his intention was to bunt it up the first base line, in the base path, where only Cole could've fielded it and Harper was going to mow him over. The bunt just went too far towards the mound. Why else would the Kid have bunted?

  47. natsfan1a - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    A fave in-person memory from 2005, John Patterson's August complete game shutout against the Dodgers. We'd decided to attend the game on the spur of the moment. It also featured the first grand slam by a "newborn Nat." Do you remember who it was? Got Wilk? Yeah, that's right. :-)

  48. MicheleS - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    JoeSeamhead.. Please ask Mrs Seamhead to give you a big hug from me :-)

  49. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Not Nats Related==> But, worth reading!How to Pitchhttp://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19262#commentMessage

  50. BigCat - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    I liked when Ozzie Guillen was on the top step cussing Harper out for pretty much nothing. Guillen was an ass who got what he deserved. Harper handled that whole episode very well

  51. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    It's not how many runs we put up, it's how many games that we win. Though watching a 8-7 losing effort is entertaining, I'd rather win 2-1 contest. Great defense reduces the number of pitches our staff has to throw, thus allowing them to go deeper. It all starts with the infield. Now, with Denard we have a superior OF from last year. Then add in a high OBP, low strikeout CF leading off on offense, followed by a team of high percentage contact hitters, I see us making the other team's staff throw a ton of pitches. I really think that the Span signing was inter-related to Adam returning.I sure hope that those saying that Adam is gone are wrong.On a related topic, JayB is absolutely right in that Morse does not tend to take a lot of pitches

  52. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Big Cat, I loved when afterwards ALR got Harp to send Ozzie a bat, too!

  53. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Well, that Red Sox reporter, Jen Royle put up another report in which she opines that they won't go three years AND the draft pick for ALR. (Sorry for going back to this topic…)I am following her on Twitter and becoming, er, not impressed. Also, her analysis may be correct, but she has typos and misspellings in her post which doesn't seem professional.Here is her report, but most of it is a rehash of her report from yesterday.red-sox-first-base-dilemmahttp://www.sportsreelboston.com/2012/12/28/red-sox-first-base-dilemma/

  54. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    oooops, Gonzo to the Brewers.Chris Cotillo ‏@TradeDeadlinerPer @Ken_Rosenthal, #Brewers agree to sign LHP Mike Gonzalez.

  55. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    He added an electricity to this team that was palatable all season.I love the taste of victory in the morning … it tastes like … well, um … victory.

  56. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I'm sorry to hear about Gonzalez, but wish him well. I guess our brass didn't really want him back. I know O's fans from around here the flat out couldn't stand him when he pitched for them.I have little doubt that Rizzo will pull rabbits out his hat for the bullpen.

  57. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Gorse, it beats the heck out of crow!

  58. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    I liked M. Gonzalez. He did his job and speaking of Harper, remember when Gonzalez got ejected in a brawl with the Cubs, and afterwards he said, "You don't do that to our baby brother [Harper]."

  59. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Well, the Brewers' bullpen was a real weakness last year. So now they have Gorzo and Gonzalez–guess they liked OUR bullpen. Apparently they outbid the Reds and Nats, don't see $ yet.

  60. Teddy Rochlis - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    my god we only have 1 lefty in the pen we better get a move on,just lost out on Gonzo, im hoping for J.P Howell after seeing his 2012 stats, but we will need another one after him, last year we had 3 so we would need 1 more after Howell as well

  61. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Adam Kilgore ‏@AdamKilgoreWPFor those panicked about the Nats' lack of LHRs: Lefties have hit .214 against Mattheus in his career, and .186 against Clippard.

  62. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Teddy, I don't think we necessarily need 3 lefty relievers. Gorzelanny rarely came in just for the purpose of facing a left-handed batter, he was more in long-relief. Burnett, also, usually pitched a full inning. Gonzalez was the only one you could call a "lefty specialist," and even he wasn't always used as a LOOGY.

  63. JD - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    I think Bill Bray will do surprisingly well.the urgency here is exagerated.

  64. natsfan1a - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    I feel you, bro. There's no accounting for personal tastes. Or something. :-)A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! said… He added an electricity to this team that was palatable all season. I love the taste of victory in the morning … it tastes like … well, um … victory. December 28, 2012 1:56 PM

  65. JD - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    I think Bill Bray will do surprisingly well.the urgency here is exagerated.

  66. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Jim Bowden is saying $2.25 million plus incentives for Gonzalez. He is 34, and although he did well for us, was not great in 2010 or 2011 and he had had surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee.

  67. NatsLady - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    JD, I agree. It's not even January yet… There will be spring training invites, etc. Plenty of time to evaluate relievers.

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    JD…..agreed…..extremely exagerated.

  69. Section 222 - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    One of my favorite Harper memories, actually a full series of memories, was Nats's sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway in June. It was his first chance to play there, and and he made it a memorable weekend. I thought I'd recap it, with some Harper highlights as a bonus for a slow winter day. In the first game he had a double, a HR, and 3 RBI. The 425 foot HR off a left handed pitcher was hit to the deepest part of the ballpark and led to an ovation from Red Sox fans. Harper also made a nice running catch of a deep drive to left center early in the game and threw a strike to 1B (sequence starts at 1:32).He went hitless the next day, but after a walk he went 1st to 3rd on a single to left by Zimmerman. It was a typical Harper hustle play with the LF bobbling the sharply hit ball when he saw Harper headed to third (the sequence starts around 3:33 in the video). He scored on Morse's double. Then on Sunday, Davey gave Harper a rare day off because of lower back pain stemming from a diving play in outfield several days before against the Mets. But he still had a huge impact. The game was tied with 1 out in the 9th when Harper, pinch hitting for Tyler Moore, drew a walk. With two outs and Harper running on the pitch, Bernadina hit a shot down towards the RF corner and Harper was off to the races. There was no way he wasn't going to score, and that proved to be the winning run. All in all a nice three days of work, and the Boston players, fans and media were impressed.

  70. SonnyG10 - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Joe Seamhead said…NatsLady, they did make a half-hearted attempt to sign Mark Texeira fairly early on.December 28, 2012 11:04 Nats offered him more money than NY did. How is that half-hearted?

  71. Section 222 - Dec 28, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  72. Joe Seamhead - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    Sonny, only half-hearted because he didn't come here.

  73. flynnie - Dec 28, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    1A – I was there for Patsy's complete game shut-out against the Dodgers and his 8.1 innings against the Reds on Aug. 24. What a thrilling, hard-throwing pitcher! 6 days later, on Aug. 30, he only went 2.2 innings against the Braves, but that was the electrifying game won by the Red Knight of the Raritan, Kindergarten Teacher Jason Bergman, and saved by The Chief. Ozzie went off on Bryce when Bryce showed him his bat with a questioning look. The way Bryce held and waggled the bat with the look of wide-eyed innocence introduced a double-entendre, a lower meaning which caused an "Ozplosion."

  74. Don - Dec 28, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Best 25 go North!!

  75. baseballswami - Dec 29, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    During the dark years, the thing that kept me going was knowing that Ryan Zimmerman could hit a walk off home run any day of the week. The trend of doing it on holidays was a special treat. He has been a special player through everything and a special person. Now he is more of a veteran and he seems to have no problem handing the spotlight over to Bryce or any other player.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 56 44 --
ATLANTA 55 48 2.5
MIAMI 49 53 8.0
NEW YORK 49 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 45 58 12.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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