Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper celebrates after hitting a home run off Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Jesse Biddle during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Philadelphia.

Matt Slocum/AP Photo

Bryce Harper posts 'Thank you' hours before 1st game back

April 02, 2019 - 11:49 am
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Bryce Harper has posted a "Thank you" message to Nationals fans and the city of Washington on Instagram, hours before he plays his first game against his former team.

If you would have told me 5 years ago I would be walking into Nationals Park as an opposing player, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. Five years later, I’m doing just that. I remember the first day I walked into Nats Park. My first base hit. My first home run. And, of course, my first standing ovation. Nationals fans delivered that first ovation. The things that I will miss most are the relationships I gained on a personal level with so many of the Nationals staff and workers around the ballpark. Every day I walked in, I got a smile or shared a laugh with you. I especially want to thank The Lerner Family and Mike Rizzo for the unwavering support they showed me during my tenure in DC. The city of DC was home. Filomena’s, The Silver Diner, The Italian store, and countless other places helped make it feel like home. You, Nationals fans, made me one of your own for the entire time I was a part of the Nationals organization. I’m so blessed to have been able to play for a fan base that cared so much about our team each and every night. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what. I look forward to continuing Harpers Heroes with LLS in the DMV as well as making sure the legacy fields bearing my name are the best youth fields in town! When I run on the field tonight I am sure to hear some boos, but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter. So for that, DC, THANK YOU.

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bryceharper3) on

Harper spent his first seven major league seasons in Washington before leaving as a free agent and signing with the Philadelphia Phillies in March for $330 million over 13 years.

The Nationals offered him much less money, with millions that would be deferred for decades.

Harper's post on Tuesday mentions a few local restaurants, the Lerner family that owns the Nationals and general manager Mike Rizzo. It makes no reference to any of his managers or teammates in Washington.

He wrote that he is "sure to hear some boos" at Tuesday night's game, "but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter."

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