Matthew Taylor: Will Nats’ Harper be taking aim at warehouse this weekend?

Would you be OK with a batter from a visiting team hitting the B&O Warehouse at Camden Yards? What if it were a member of the New York Yankees? The Boston Red Sox? How about the Washington Nationals? What if Bryce Harper were to do it this weekend?

Two years ago, then-Washington Examiner columnist Thom Loverro predicted that Harper would hit the warehouse, boasting, “They might as well order the plaque now. Sooner or later, he is going to hit that warehouse.” Loverro argued it could well happen that weekend, during a late May series between the teams despite Harper suffering through the effects of bursitis in his knee. Obviously, that never happened.

If Loverro’s prediction seemed foolhardy at the time given the circumstances, his “sooner or later” proclamation lingers in my mind as Harper and the Nationals come to town again for a weekend set with the O’s.

Harper hasn’t had much success versus the Orioles - a .194 average overall and a .167 average in Baltimore - but he’s putting up downright silly numbers this season. He’s giving off the feeling of a guy who is not only locked in, but also poised to do something special this season. He’s never hit a Eutaw Street home run, but previous Nationals players have.

Adam Dunn nearly added some new flavor to the Orioles-Nationals annual match-up with his 442-foot blast on to Eutaw Street on June 28, 2009. (Dunn reached Eutaw Street again in 2013 for the White Sox.) Given the angle of Dunn’s 2009 homer, it seemed to have a shot at reaching the warehouse.

Dunn’s Eutaw Street home run for the Nationals ultimately fell a foot short of Henry Rodriguez’s 443-foot homer for the Montreal Expos. Same franchise, different name. Dunn and Roger Bernadina (May 29, 2013) are the only two Nationals players to reach Eutaw Street. Surely, Harper would like to add his name to that list.

Overall, more visiting batters have hit Eutaw Street home runs than have home batters. You could argue that the numbers speak to the Orioles’ run of futility during their time in Camden Yards, due in no small part to a lack of quality pitching. Consider, though, that the visitors reached Eutaw Street more often than the home squad during the Orioles’ 2012 playoff season and again last season when the O’s won the division.

Despite all the success of visiting teams, Chris Davis is the king of Eutaw Street. His seven home runs onto the walkway are one better than runner-up Luke Davis, who had six Eutaw Street home runs for the Orioles. Davis remains the favorite among many O’s fans - myself included - to be the guy to hit the Warehouse, although with free agency approaching, he’d better act fast.

Back to the visitors. Here’s what my top five would look like for players I would least like to see hit the warehouse:

1. David Ortiz
2. David Ortiz
3. David Ortiz
4. David Ortiz
5. David Ortiz

Ortiz has homered onto Eutaw Street twice, first in 2003 and again in 2012. With his power seemingly in decline, he’s unlikely to be the guy to reach the warehouse. I can’t say I’d be thrilled if Harper were the one to do it; nevertheless, I would respect the effort. I’d tip by cap to him, but I draw the line at doing a hair flip.

Which five visiting batters would you least like to see hit the warehouse? How would you feel if Harper did it? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. Follow him on Twitter: @RoarFrom34. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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