Harper said he decided to participate in the Home Run Derby because it is in D.C. this time around.
“I think just being able to do it in D.C., being able to do it in front of the fans, have fun and enjoy that,” Harper said.
“It’s huge being able to run out there knowing you are in your own ball park,” he added. “You feel right at home. Definitely weird staying in a hotel in D.C. But being able to come to the ballpark knowing that your locker is going to be there in the same spot. The guys around the clubhouse, some of the trainers, they’re all going to be in there. It’s a lot of fun to be able to enjoy that with them.”
The Nationals slugger said there is no added pressure to win the Derby.
“No, for Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, there is no pressure,” Harper said. “You go out there and have fun and enjoy it. There’s so many great baseball players in this league and so many great players that are here in D.C. As a fan and a player you look at it and just want to enjoy it with them.”
Ron Harper will again throw to his son, as he did in the 2013 Home Run Derby at Citi Field.
“I talked to him probably about a month ago about it,” Harper said. “I told him I’d like him to throw to me and things like that and talked to him a little bit today.
“(I told him to) make sure you look good out there. That’s the biggest thing. He always does, so that works. Throw strikes. Hit my barrel.”
First round matchups:
No. 1 seed Jesus Aguilar vs. No. 8 seed Rhys Hoskins
No. 4 seed Alex Bregman vs. No. 5 seed Kyle Schwarber
No. 2 seed Bryce Harper vs. No. 7 seed Freddie Freeman
No. 3 seed Max Muncy vs. No. 6 Javier Báez
Update: Harper advanced to the semifinals by hitting six homers of more than 440 feet, downing Freeman, 13-12.
He will face Max Muncy of the Dodgers. Muncy outhomered Baez 17-16.
Hoskins downed Aguilar 17-12. Schwarber edged Bregman 16-15.
Hoskins faces Schwarber in the other semifinal.
Update II: Schwarber downed Hoskins 21-20 to advance to the finals. He got the crowd into his final three swings as he overtook Hoskins.
The crowd of 43,698 erupted at Nationals Park when Harper downed Muncy 13-12 with 1:11 left on the clock.
The final will be Harper against Schwarber.
Update III: Harper outhomered Schwarber 19-18 to win the Home Run Derby.