Though we all know that losing a star player to free agency is just part of the business of baseball, that doesn’t make it any less aggravating for fans.
But seeing as how the Nationals just won their first World Series, we at MASN know you won’t mind being reminded of the days when your team piled a lot of its hopes on the young shoulders of a guy named Harper.
This next batch of “Nationals Classics” includes a couple of red-letter days for the 2012 Rookie of the Year from back when he was still rocking the red. You know, like, red red. Not that icky maroon.
And by the by, this run of “Nationals Classics” also features the exploits of a couple of current (world champion) Nats stars. We know you remember those guys.
Thursday, Nov. 21 - 12:30 p.m. - Nothing like springtime in the mountains to get the blood pumping. Just ask Trea Turner, who hit for the cycle in a 15-12 win over the Rockies at Coors Field on April 25, 2017. Turner drove in seven runs for the visitors, and the Nats had five-run innings in the second and seventh. The Rockies rallied late, scoring seven times over the last three innings. But after surrendering a leadoff homer in the ninth to future National Gerardo Parra, Shawn Kelley shut the door.
Monday, Nov. 25 - 9 a.m. - On June 5, 2012, Bryce Harper was still just 19, but he would have the last word as the homestanding Nationals battled the Mets. The Nats took a three-run lead into the fifth, but the visitors homered twice in the sixth, then grabbed a one-run lead in the eighth. Ian Desmond got that run back with an RBI single in the home half, and the two National League East foes traded single runs again in the 10th. The Mets took the lead once more in the 12th on a leadoff homer from future National Scott Hairston, but when Mets reliever Elvin Ramírez started his second inning of work, it quickly became clear it was one too many. Mike Morse and Desmond each doubled to begin the Nats’ 12th. Five batters later, with the bases loaded, Harper singled to left for his first career walk-off hit.
Wednesday, Nov. 27 - 12:30 a.m. - If you like comebacks, you’ll want to stay up for this one. Harper (remember him?) became the eighth-youngest player in major league history to reach 100 homers on April 14, 2016 as the Nationals handed the Braves a 6-2 defeat at Nats Park. This being Bryce Harper, though, he reached the milestone not with a solo shot in garbage time, but with his first career grand slam, which gave the Nats a three-run lead they would not relinquish. Fun fact: It came off Braves starter Julio Teheran, the pitcher Harper’s taken deep more than any other in the bigs.
Wednesday, Nov. 27 - 7:30 p.m. - In January 2015, the Nationals scored a major coup, signing 2013 Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. When he took the mound at Nats Park on June 20, Scherzer had already won seven games, but had lost five, including two of his previous three. Any lingering doubts about whether the former Tigers ace still had it, though, went up in smoke that Saturday as Mad Max no-hit the Pirates in a 6-0 Washington win. A hit batter with two out in the ninth (pinch-hitter José Tabata) would be the only one facing Scherzer to see the basepaths that day. Harper homered and went 2-for-4.