Bryce Harper was not thinking about the number of games separating the Phillies from the postseason this past weekend. He wasn’t even thinking about baseball.
Harper was at home in Las Vegas, holding his newborn son, Krew Aron.
“I hope he has a hockey stick in his hand, that would be nice,” said Harper, who returned to the Phillies on Monday from paternity leave. “Excited to see him grow up and see what he does. Those moments go through your head when you’re holding him.”
Harper flew home to Las Vegas on Wednesday night to be in the delivery room on Thursday when his wife, Kayla, gave birth to the couple’s first child. It was a “pretty incredible moment,” Harper said.
“It’s pretty cool to say I’m a dad now,” Harper said. “It all went by super quick. She’s healthy, the baby’s healthy, and that’s all that matters.”
Harper often credits his father for helping mold his character and set his baseball career on track. His dad, Ron, told Harper to simply enjoy fatherhood.
“I have a great relationship with my dad and hopefully I can have the same one with my son,” Harper said. “My dad always says where he turned left, hopefully I turn right. Just learning from him and seeing what he did with my brothers and sisters, he was a great father to me and hopefully I can be that for my kid.”
The Harpers, who are both from Las Vegas, married in December 2016. They picked out the baby’s name a couple of years ago.
“We liked it and stuck with it,” Harper said. “Hopefully he likes it when he gets older.”
Harper’s paternity leave granted him three days away from the team. He flew home Wednesday night after the Phillies completed a two-game sweep at Fenway Park and he missed their series loss in Miami. Harper’s return to the lineup was a welcome sight to the Phillies.
Harper said he did not watch the games against the Marlins, so he missed them blowing a seven-run lead on Friday and wasting an Aaron Nola start on Sunday. Instead, he tried to stay with his family and “take in the moment.” He rejoined a team on Monday that entered a three-game series against the downtrodden Pirates 1 1/2-games out of the second wild card. The Phillies had a rough weekend without Harper, but they’re still alive.