So as some of you may, or may not be aware I live in the Harrisburg area, actually, right outside of Harrisburg on the West Shore. Doing so affords me the ability to attend Harrisburg Senators games. For those of you unfamiliar, the Senators are the Double A affiliate of the Phillies perennial punching bag the Washington Nationals.(I have a feeling that won't be true much longer). Anyway, living in this area for the last 3 years I have attended a grand total of 1 game. And that game was the one in which organizationally appointed savior Stephen Strasburg made his Double A debut. That is until last night, when I attended my second ever Harrisburg Senators game. Why you ask? Well aside from it being close, and cheap, it was because the war paint wearing, kiss blowing, self aggrandizing outfielder Bryce Harper was playing in his 4th game as a member of the Senators.
For those of you not familiar with Metro Bank Park, there is a bank of seats along the 1st base line that extends to the outfield wall, similar to just about every park I've ever seen. Harper, was playing in Right Field last night, where I understand he has played all of his games so far for the Senators. My seats, of course, were in right field. First row(thanks to a buddy of mine) so we were in prime heckling territory. Unfortunately, I am not much of a heckler to begin with, even less so at an event which is pretty heavily filled with children. Maybe it's just me, and I don't have any kids of my own(that I know of) but it just seems wrong to heckle a guy when you know kids could pick up on it and repeat it. Sadly however, my friend doesn't have the same conscience I do, or possibly any at all for that matter and he had no problem giving Harper the business. I'll further add that I think it's somewhat unfair to heckle a guy who is only 18 years old. But at any rate, my buddy, God love him spent the majority of the first few innings yelling things like "Nice war paint tough guy." " (For the record, he has toned that down big time, it's really not that much different than anyone else who wears eye black...except he uses a little more than he should) "Awesome mustache, are you auditioning for America's Next Porn Star" and other relatively stupid things. At one point I actually had to facepalm myself like Captain Picard because I was somewhat embarrassed at not just what my friend was saying, but that he was saying anything at all. Some people laughed, most didn't since most people who go to the game actually are Senators fans.
A note about the game itself...Harper went 0-4 with a K and 3 LOB's. He was fine in the outfield making what I considered routine plays. He does seem to have a pretty strong arm. The highlight for me was watching Chien-Ming Wang pitch for the Senators. I honestly forgot he was on the team as I truly don't follow the Senators at all. Which I guess is kind of sad, and if they were affiliated with anyone other than an NL East team I might actually pay attention. But at the end of the day, I have no desire to see the Senators succeed. Maybe that makes me a bad person. Anyway, back to the game. Wang pitched 5 scoreless, gave up 2 hits and had 2 K's. Senators won 5-0.
Now, to the interesting part...the part that is the genesis of this fan posts title. After the game was over, some of the players, actually, many of the players stuck around on the field to give some autographs, apparently this is not an uncommon thing from what I am told. I would name a bunch of guys that I saw signing autographs but I have a feeling most of them would be unknown to you...except for Wang and another guy who I didn't know was on the team...former Met great Oliver Perez. Both signing balls, shirts, scorecards whatever. Then there was Bryce Harper. He walked by the people lined up along the seats in Right Field, almost taunted everyone, he looked directly at the fans standing there but never came closed to sign anything, despite some of his team mates doing so. One kid, probably about 8 years old was wearing a Bryce Harper jersey, he even turned around to show Bryce that his name was on the back. Harper, just looked at him, the kid threw him a ball to sign hoping it would prompt him to come over. It didn't. Harper just rolled the ball back to the kid, I guess not wanting to throw it and risk hurting him, or maybe his arm was sore, or he was just bored. Either way, the kid was pretty bummed. The kid's mother was not to happy. I kind of just stood there in amazement at it all. Eventually Bryce made his way to the dugout and became invisible, much like his stat line for the night.
All in all I will say that if you are ever in the area and looking for something fun and cheap to do, either by yourself or with your family, go to a Senators game. It's a nice park, located on City Island, the team is very good and entertaining to watch and the food isn't bad. There are also some batting cages on the island and mini golf. Or you can rent canoes or kayaks to go up and down the Susquehanna river, as well as a ton of other activities that are offered on the island.
(Note: For some reason I can't get the links to show up without the address listed. I know how to do links in comments but it won't work on here, maybe it has to be done differently?"