WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Former Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper posted an online message to D.C. fans ahead of his initial visit to Nationals Park as a member of the Phillies to face his former team.
Harper was the No. 1 pick by the Nationals in the 2010 draft and played with them through the 2018 season. He signed a 13-year, $330-million contract with Philadelphia in February.
In his post, Harper recalled his 'firsts' as a National and thanked the Lerner family and Nationals general manager and president of baseball operations, Mike Rizzo.
He said he was 'blessed' to have played for the Nationals and said his D.C. area charity work will continue.
"When I run on the field tonight I am sure to hear some boos, but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter," Harper wrote. "So for that, DC, THANK YOU."
"If you would have told me 5 years ago I would be walking into Nationals Park as an opposing player, I would've told you that you were crazy. Five years later, I'm doing just that. I remember the first day I walked into Nats Park. My first base hit. My first home run. And, of course, my first standing ovation. Nationals fans delivered that first ovation.
The things that I will miss most are the relationships I gained on a personal level with so many of the Nationals staff and workers around the ballpark. Every day I walked in, I got a smile or shared a laugh with you. I especially want to thank The Lerner Family and Mike Rizzo for the unwavering support they showed me during my tenure in DC.
The city of DC was home. Filomena's, The Silver Diner, The Italian store, and countless other places helped make it feel like home. You, Nationals fans, made me one of your own for the entire time I was a part of the Nationals organization. I'm so blessed to have been able to play for a fan base that cared so much about our team each and every night. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what. I look forward to continuing Harpers Heroes with LLS in the DMV as well as making sure the legacy fields bearing my name are the best youth fields in town!
When I run on the field tonight I am sure to hear some boos, but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter. So for that, DC, THANK YOU."