Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper is the type of player who lives for drama. He has a temper that has been well-documented and makes it obvious that he can’t stand losing. The 20-year-old outfielder also feeds off the hatred he receives from opposing fans, and he has been fed a lot of it by Atlanta Braves supporters this season.
Harper has been hit by pitches against the Braves three times this season. Earlier this month, he was plunked after admiring his home run and flipping his bat. Then on Friday, Atlanta fans cheered when Harper was hit two more times. He loved every second of it.
“I love these fans. I really do,” Harper said Sunday, per Dan Kolko of MASN Sports. “These people are absolutely unbelievable for their team. If I was playing for a team like this and had a crowd like that, I’d be stoked to play here every night, too. I love playing at Nats Park. We have a great crowd, too. Going to Philly. Going here. Fenway. New York. There are so many great crowds.
“I love when the crowd goes crazy and they boo me. I live for that situation. I think a lot of guys do. Just like the old commercials, ‘We live for this.’ Live for the booing, and (when) they’re going crazy, it makes me a better player.”
Harper could not have loved the Braves taking two out of three from his Nationals, but he heard plenty of boos every time he strolled to the plate. He also had a brief exchange with third base umpire Marvin Hudson when he was called out on a 1-2 check swing to end the game. Harper said he didn’t like the call, but wouldn’t elaborate much further.
“I just told him how good he was and how good he looked,” he joked.
If a rivalry is budding between the Braves and Nationals, there is no better person to play the role of villain than Bryce Harper.
H/T Hardball Talk