Bryce Harper played a major role in the Philadelphia Phillies reaching the World Series, as he accounted for the decisive RBI in three of the Phillies’ four wins in the National League Championship Series against the San Diego Padres.
That happened again Sunday, when the NLCS MVP hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Phillies the lead in a series-clinching 4-3 win.
In the five-game series, the 30-year-old Harper hit 8 of 20 from the plate with two home runs, three doubles, five RBIs and four runs scored.
After delivering an MVP performance, the seven-time All-Star and two-time NL MVP delivered something else after reaching his first World Series: a round of thank-yous.
What has Bryce Harper learned during his career?
During his postgame press conference after the win, Harper talked about what his family means to him — he is a father of two and married his high school sweetheart (former BYU soccer player Kayla Varner) in 2016.
“I’m so lucky to have the parents that I do, I’m so lucky to have my beautiful wife and kids that support me each day as well. (I have) teammates in there that aren’t just teammates but some of my best friends,” he told reporters.
“I’m very fortunate for the experiences I’ve had since the time I was 16 because it has molded me into what I am today,” Harper continued.
“I think you can always be better in all facets of life, not just on the baseball field. I think you can always get better in life no matter what. I want to continue to do that for my family, my teammates and everybody around me.”
What’s his message for Phillies fans?
When Harper was asked about the Phillies fans, he mentioned that the passion he sees from that fanbase is something he wanted and something he witnessed before joining Philadelphia — he spent the first seven years of his career in Washington.
“I wanted that emotion from the fans. They just want you to work hard, play hard. They want you to be who you are, no excuses,” he said.
“They pay their hard-earned dollar to get to the ballpark every day for us, and they’re doing it for us right now during the playoffs. … They want you to grind for them and play the best baseball you can for them.”
“... Everyone who has Phillies on their chest is family.”
What did Bryce Harper say about his home run?
Before Harper hit the two-run shot that helped send the Phillies to the World Series, where they’ll face the Houston Astros, he described how he was aware of the situation and would it could mean for the fans.
“The opportunity to be able to be in that situation, I’m not there unless J.T. (Realmuto) gets that hit in (the previous) at-bat,” Harper said. “I told (hitting coach Kevin) Long before I walked up the steps, I said, ‘Let’s give them something to remember,’” he said.
After the home run, TV cameras caught him reacting to the play.
“Oh my gosh, I just did that,” he said in the dugout.
What did Bryce Harper say about reaching the World Series?
The Phillies will take on the Houston Astros in the World Series, with Game 1 set for Friday.
While Harper emphasized multiple times he’s focused on the future, not the past, during his press conference, he also expressed his gratitude for what has transpired to get him to this point.
“I’m grateful for the experiences I went through when I was younger to get me where I’m at today — as a teammate, person, father, everything,” he said.
He also understood the importance of not focusing on this moment, but instead on the task ahead with four wins separating Philadelphia from a title.
“This is great, to be able to be the last National League team standing right now,” Harper said. “The Philadelphia Phillies, we’re here. We’re ready to go in that next round. We’ve got four more. We’re going to enjoy this as a team, as a group, but we’ve got four more.”