Philadelphia Phillies superstar outfielder Bryce Harper had a reason to celebrate as he finally broke a 38-game home run drought, the longest of his career.
However, his long-awaited moment of triumph was met with an unexpected twist courtesy of Phillies closer, Craig Kimbrel.
During the game against the San Diego Padres, Harper unleashed a powerful shot that seemed destined for the bullpen. But before it could even land, Kimbrel made a bold and daring move, reaching out with his bare hand to snag the ball mid-air, robbing Harper of his home run moment.
Phillies are in a rain delay so here’s Craig Kimbrel catching Bryce Harper’s home run last night pic.twitter.com/KeeEHBBYPs
— Life of a Philly Fan (@PhillyFanLife) July 16, 2023
In the postgame press conference, Harper couldn’t help but share his thoughts on Kimbrel’s audacious catch, expressing his disbelief and amusement.
“That was stupid,” Harper chuckled, drawing laughter from reporters. “I already talked to him. It was terrible. You can’t do that. I mean, nice catch but come on man.”
Bryce Harper did see Craig Kimbrel catch his home run barehanded.
“Yeah, it was stupid,” he said, adding that it was a nice catch. pic.twitter.com/TBnlE2ni2b
— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) July 16, 2023
Kimbrel’s unexpected interference might have thrown Harper off his usual routine, as the slugger typically acknowledges the bullpen on his way around the bases after hitting a home run.
Nonetheless, Harper made up for it by making a phone call to the bullpen to congratulate Kimbrel on the impressive catch and show some love for his teammates.
It’s been so long since Bryce Harper’s last homer that he forgot to acknowledge the bullpen.
So he picked up the bullpen phone to apologize 🤣
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) July 16, 2023
Before this 38-game home run drought, Harper’s previous longest stretch without a homer was 25 games last season.
Despite the slump, Harper’s offensive capabilities have remained solid this season, with a batting average of .298 in 218 at-bats.
He discussed his approach at the plate with reporters after the game, emphasizing that hitting home runs is not his primary focus.
“Everyone keeps talking about it, but it is what it is,” Harper explained. “For me personally, keep hitting the baseball. Keep hitting it hard. I don’t go out there to hit homers. I don’t really try to hit homers. If you try to hit homers, it’s just not good.”
Harper’s power resurgence comes as a relief for Phillies fans, who have been eagerly waiting for their star player to break free from the home run drought.
The four home runs he’s hit this season might not be his career-best, but his ability to consistently hit the ball and maintain a high batting average showcases his value to the team.
As the Phillies move forward in the season, fans will undoubtedly keep a close eye on Harper’s performance at the plate, hoping that his recent home run sparks a hot streak for the star slugger.
Where do you rank Harper among the best players in baseball?
Assuming he stays healthy, are the Phillies a legitimate World Series contender this season?