On Monday, the Washington Nationals opened up a huge series with the New York Mets. Arguably one of the biggest series the Nationals have played during their franchise’s ten year existence in Washington.
Common sense would say that such an important series for the Nationals would garner massive fan support and boisterous crowds. But that was not the case on Monday and it has NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper unhappy with his home crowd.
After a back-and-forth exchange of offensive blasts from both the Nationals and Mets, the Mets took the lead for good in the 7th inning. Putting up a three run inning off of the Nationals bullpen. Harper started to notice that the crowd of an announced attendance of 34,210 “Nationals fans” started to thin out after the Mets took the lead.
“I mean, they left in the seventh, so that’s pretty brutal,” Harper said. “I don’t know. Whatever.”
You cannot fault Harper for being a bit ticked off at Nationals fans leaving early in a game that had already featured four home runs hit and two lead changes by the 6th inning.
The Nationals, who were fresh off a sweep of the Atlanta Braves and a five game winning streak, came into this game only four games behind the Mets for first place. Fans abandoning their team early in a game that is as close to a playoff game in September as you can get is not something you want to get a reputation of. Just ask Miami Heat fans.
Harper is not the first Nationals player to complain of the lack of fan support. Jonathan Papelbon vented his frustrations a few days ago.
“I’ve got a little bone to pick with some of the fans here tonight,” Papelbon said, “I saw a few of them sitting down. I’m not gonna lie, we need to stand up in those situations. Let’s get that going, ya know what I mean. Because this is playoff baseball.”
If you pay for your ticket you can leave whenever you want or do as you please at a ballgame, but leaving a game early during one of the most important series in the franchise history should be considered baseball blasphemy. These comments could turn regrettable for Harper, but he’s well within his rights as a player to make them. The Nationals need their fans now more than ever, and if this is what it takes to light a fire under them, so be it.