COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — The beginning of 2019 season started off very differently for the two local Major League Baseball teams, the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles, who finished with just 47 wins a season ago with one of the worst seasons in baseball history, have started their season off on a high note.
The team has yet to play a game at home in Camden Yards, but have started the season off 4-1, including a series victory over the New York Yankees, who had the highest projected win total entering the season.
Just five games into the season, the Orioles are doing things they haven’t done in a long, long time.
The Baltimore Orioles are now 3 games above .500 for the first time since September 3rd, 2017.
— Boom Boom Mancini (@FakeTreyMancini) April 3, 2019
— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) April 3, 2019
The 2018 Orioles had one winning streak of 3 or more games all year.
The 2019 Orioles have a winning streak of 3 games in their first week.
— Tim Barbalace (@TimBarbalace) April 2, 2019
The Orioles played 26 road series last year, winning 3. They have 2 this year after win last night.
— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) April 3, 2019
The 2019 season has not started as well for the team just 41 miles down I-95.
The Nationals, a team projected to contend for the National League East division crown, have started off slow, winning just one of their first four games. All four contests have been played at Nationals Park.
Things did not get any better for the home team on a rainy Tuesday evening, when Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies came to town. Harper, who spent his first seven seasons with a ‘Curly W’ Nationals logo on his chest, was making his return to Nationals Park for the first time since signing a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in February.
In his first at-bat, Harper was struck out by Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer, and Nationals Twitter loved it.
thank u, next
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 2, 2019
Yo homes, smell ya later. pic.twitter.com/3Jf1aR8mJq
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 3, 2019
— Chris Russell (@Russellmania621) April 2, 2019
Harper also struck out in his second at-bat. The boos for Harper were constant all game.
Bryce Harper gets booed running out to right field. pic.twitter.com/QboVAxEVif
— Jake Russell (@_JakeRussell) April 3, 2019
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 3, 2019
But the mood inside the park quickly changed.In his last three at-bats, Harper hit two doubles and a 458-foot home run, capping off an 8-2 Phillies victory that turned into quite the homecoming for Harper.
Bryce Harper absolutely CRUSHED this one against his former team 💥🚀
Bryce Harper just hit a second-deck home run. This is an all-time return.
— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) April 3, 2019
The @Phillies are 4-0, the only unbeaten team in @MLB. Bryce Harper had a three-hit game, with an immense home run, against his old team. This is pretty much how John Middleton drew it up . . . less than one week into a 13-year deal.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) April 3, 2019
It wasn’t just the home run that was gut-wrenching for Nationals fans, it was Harper’s bat-flip celebration that was a real punch to the stomach.
Bat Flip City
Population: Bryce Harper pic.twitter.com/8XnGwjFZvb
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 3, 2019
MY GOODNESS THIS BRYCE HARPER BAT FLIP 😮
By the end of the game, the stadium was taken over by Phillies fans, as Nats fans made their way to the exits.
Bryce Harper’s home run from right. “We got Harper!” chants in full effect and Nats fans headed out. Some Phillies fans yelling after them this is “Citizens Bank South” again. This is night one of 13 years. pic.twitter.com/aL4zocdsJ3
— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) April 3, 2019
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) April 3, 2019
Bryce Harper just hit a home run over all of Phillies fans in right field that came down to have his back
You can’t write this script
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) April 3, 2019
As for Harper, he just tried to downplay his return and go about it the right way. https://twitter.com/usatodaysports/status/1113388172338024450
What Bryce Harper had to say about facing the Washington Nationals as an opponent for the first time. pic.twitter.com/2m3SJHVmqI
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) April 3, 2019
For someone who will be facing his former team 18 more times in 2019, that’s probably the best way to go about it.