PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Bryce Harper Era... officially begins today. The bunting up. The anticipation, through the roof, as the Phillies start their 2019 campaign with the highest expectations in a decade.
Harper did NOT come out and take batting practice with the rest of his teammates, choosing instead to hit in the cage underneath the ballpark, which is something he has done for years.
The fans will get their first glimpse of him when he joins them to parade through the stands in Centerfield.
Harper said this week he is excited to hear the ovation he'll get, especially considering he was considered the ENEMY in this ballpark for the past seven seasons when he played here with the visiting Washington Nationals.
Phillies GM Matt Klentak, the man responsible for landing Harper, joined me LIVE on Action News at noon and said this is incredibly exciting, and for the first time since he's been here, the Phillies open a season as legitimate playoff contenders.
He pointed out that the NL East will be a juggernaut of a division, and of course, it's a long season. But he also said he can't wait to see what Harper can do, and mentioned all the hard work Harper put in during spring training, giving him a glimpse already as to the kind of force he will be for this team both on the field and in the clubhouse.
One thing to look for today - Harper usually starts seasons red HOT. In fact, he was the youngest in baseball history to hit 5 Opening Day career Home Runs, doing so before the age of 25.
Harper has played on Opening Day in his home ballpark 3 times in his career and hashing it 4 home runs in those games.
When I told Klentak that stat he said with a smile "Well ok, let's go!"
Stay tuned for continuing coverage this afternoon on Action News at 4, 5, and 6 and on my Facebook and Twitter pages.
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