Bryce Harper was introduced to the media as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract.
Harper leaving DC was anticipated as early as February by Capitals players. Tom Wilson revealed to media members at MedStar Capitals Iceplex that Bryce unfollowed most members of the team on Twitter.
“I know a couple of us got the unfollow the other day so I don’t know if that’s writing on the wall or what,” Wilson said. “He’s been a leader in this city for a long time. I know he kinda jumped the Caps ship with the Vegas bandwagon there with where he’s from, but it’s always been fun, and I’m sure he’s going to make the best decision for him and his family and his future.”
Friday, after reports emerged that Harper had signed with rival Philadelphia, Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom commented on the former NL MVP leaving DC.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) March 1, 2019
Wilson complimented Harper’s deal but wondered who Bryce would cheer for beyond the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL.
“Congratulations are probably in order,” Wilson said. “Another guy that put in a lot of hard work, took a lot of pride in the city for a long time. You wish him the best. Maybe we’ll cross paths.
“I wonder what he’s gonna do with [which hockey team] he cheers for now,” Wilson continued. “I guess he’s got Vegas. But it’s good for him. Obviously, DC would like to see him stick around. He did a lot for the city and spent a lot of time here and worked extremely hard to bring as many wins as he could. I’ll be curious to see how he does in his new home.”
Backstrom also offered congratulations on Harper’s contract, but said it was “unfortunate” he was leaving the only MLB team he’s ever known.
“First of all, I saw the number. Good for him,” Backstrom said. “I think being in Washington and following since he came to the league, it’s unfortunate he’s switching teams, but at the same time, I think that’s something if you have the opportunity as an athlete that’s something you wanna do: stay in the same place, build the team there.
“I’m sure he was thinking a lot about this decision, but whatever makes him happy, I guess,” Backstrom continued. “Even if you have a long contract, you can never be satisfied. You strive to get better. Looks like he’s got that drive in him, so I think that’s gonna be no problem for him.”
During his press conference, Harper pointed out how excited he was to be in Philadelphia.
“It’s an amazing city; it’s a winning city,” Harper said.
He added, “We want to bring a title back to DC.”
Bryce: "We want to bring a title back to D.C." Oops. pic.twitter.com/4ygJdukIon
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) March 2, 2019
Headline photo: @Capitals
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