In The Field: MV3
This is a Bryce Harper Appreciation Post.
Last night, Harper won the Major League Baseball 2021 National League Most Valuable Player Award.
I had dinner with my kids last night – put a steak on the grill for them – so my sons and I had the opportunity to be watching MLB Network live when it was announced. We had the chance to celebrate our favorite player together.
We’ve had the pleasure of watching Bryce for a long time now, both in a Washington Nationals uniform and now, for the past couple of years, in the Phillies baby-blues (or red pinstripes.
He exudes what many of us love about the stars of old – he plays hard and hustles. Every game. Every day.
The performance he put on the second half of this past season was amazing. He carried the Phillies for in their quest to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, one guy can’t do it alone and they fell short.
Around early August, chants of “MV3, MV3, MV3” started to resound at Citizens’ Bank Park, the Phillies home stadium.
From the MLB Press Release announcing his win:
In the second half of the season, Harper slashed .338/.476/.713 [the slash line is batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage] in 311 plate appearances as he started each of the Phillies’ final 72 games. In those 72 games, Harper played in 607.2 of the club’s final 635.0 innings (95.7%). His .713 slugging percentage and 49 extra-base hits after the All-Star break led MLB and his 1.188 OPS was the third-highest in club history in the second half. His 49 extra-base hits after the break were the most by a player in Phillies franchise history and the most of his career. He became the first player in MLB with a .300/.400/.700 slash line after the break since Howard in 2006 and the first NL outfielder since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa in 2001.
All this after, in April, getting hit in the face with 97 mile per hour fastball. And he responded with grace to the pitcher that hit him, reaching out to the young man afterwards, make sure HE was ok. (I was watching that game – it was scary.)
Bryce is just fun to watch on the field. He plays the game the right way, as the old-timers (i.e. me) say. My son Chase has a huge Harper image on his bedroom wall. I made prints of these photos and both boys have them framed in their rooms. I see both of them mimicking some of his baseball movements when they are on the field. Just like I used to do with my favorite players.
Back in May 2019, Bryce was signing autographs before the game as he often does (he didn’t before the games we saw this year; Maybe COVID protocol?) The hand with the red hat extended is Chase’s. I had lost sight of him in the press of fans, but saw the hat and thought “Holy mackerel, he may get Harp’s autograph!”
But alas, it didn’t happen. Right after signing the blue hat, Harper told the kids good-bye and jogged to the dugout. Would have been cool to get that autograph though.
This past August, at another game, we came down from our high up seats to mill around Bryce’s office in right field. I had my Fuji XT3 with them, to do some fun double exposures of him.
He plays so hard, sometimes it does seem like there are two of him out there.
So, a big congrats to our favorite fan. Seems like a good guy, family man off the field too, which makes him even more likeable.
Congrats again, MV3!
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2021