Bryce Harper’s walk-off grand slam to complete a Phillies sweep of the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night remains the talk of Philadelphia on Friday afternoon, with clips of the right-field bomb (and John Kruk’s enthusiastic reaction) still being shared widely on social media.
That’s good news for Harper’s parents, who apparently missed their son’s late-game heroics.
During a postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia, Harper revealed that his parents, Ron and Sheri, were at the game but appeared to have left their Citizens Bank Park suite before his ninth-inning at-bat.
“I saw my parents’ lights were off in the suite right now, so they probably didn’t see that,” Harper told Gregg Murphy almost immediately after his grand slam with a smile on his face. “So, thanks, Mom and Dad. Appreciate ya'.”
Following the game, Harper backed off a bit, telling reporters in the clubhouse his wasn’t sure if his parents had actually left the ballpark and that he wasn’t sure which suite they were in.
“No, they wouldn’t do that,” Harper said, laughing. “I’m not sure, actually.”
Harper shares a close connection with his parents, especially his father, a union ironworker who woke up each morning at 3 a.m. to work on the construction site of whichever casino was being built in Las Vagas.
“He worked his ever-living tail off,” Harper told my colleague Matt Breen back in June. “When I tell you, I’m telling you.”
The good news for Harper is that his wife, Kayla, who was at home pregnant with the couple’s first child, saw the blast. But her focus wasn’t on the clutch hit or the distance the ball flew. It was on her husband’s brisk pace around the bases before he celebrated with his teammates.
“Never have I ever seen him do this grinch like sprint but it’s a vibe I never knew I needed,” Kayla Harper wrote Thursday night on Twitter.
The evening wasn’t all great for Harper. Before his game-winning home run, he got a bit testy when a fan seated behind the dugout taunted him for going 0-3, including two strikeouts.
“$300 million, 0-for-3,” the unidentified fan said to Harper, who had a colorful response as he entered the dugout.