ESPN senior writer Eddie Matz predicted all it would take is “one drunk Philly fan” for Bryce Harper to be booed during his Opening Day with the Phillies.
It appears Matz was right on the money.
Despite the general sense of euphoria over the slugger’s debut on Thursday (complete with Philly Phanatic cleats), NJ.com’s Zach Rosenblatt posted a story on Thursday featuring a video where the slugger is booed by one or two people (out of a crowd of 44,469 fans) following a strikeout in the fifth inning.
I’ll leave it up to fans to decide if this video (and the touch of sarcasm and laughter that seems apparent) warrants the “Phillies fans boo Bryce Harper on Opening Day after 2 strikeouts” headline the post was given (columnist Mike Sielski described it simply as a “smattering of boos”).
Compare that to the hefty boos Phillies manager Gabe Kapler received during the Phillies home opener last season:
The idea that Harper won’t ever be booed by Phillies fans is absurd, considering the slugger comes in with extremely high expectations and a hefty $330 million contract. Even Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt admitted that baseball seasons are long, and the slugger is bound to hear it from Phillies fans at some point.
“Surely, he’ll strike out with the bases loaded every now and then. He’ll do that. He might slip into a slump and catch a few boos now and then,” Schmidt told my colleague Matt Breen earlier this month. "But I’m in the Hall of Fame and I got booed more than anybody. It’s all part of it. The passion of the Philadelphia fan.”
Several sports writers—– including my colleagues Sielski, Matt Breen and Marcus Hayes — offered their thoughts about the framing of the video in an extensive Twitter thread started by former Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence:
Of course, Phillies fans really booed when Harper was intentionally walked in the seventh inning, a move that allowed Rhys Hoskins to blast a fastball into left field for a grand slam, giving the team a 10-3 lead.
Considering the obsession of sports pundits to paint Philadelphia sports fans as battery-throwing, boo-happy Neanderthals, Rosenblatt’s video (and it’s framing) was picked up by several national outlets, including Yahoo Sports, USA Today and even Breitbart (“WATCH: Bryce Harper Booed in Philly After Only Two Plate Appearances”). It even made it to the homepage of the Drudge Report Friday morning.
Drudge’s headline: “Harper Booed During First Game on New Team.”
Can’t wait for Colin Cowherd to chime in.