Bryce Harper set social media ablaze Thursday morning when the team shared a photo of the slugger walking into Citizens Bank Park ahead of the team’s season opener against the Atlanta Braves.
In the photo, the new Phillies superstar is sporting a black T-shirt featuring the Phanatic and Gritty in a Pulp Fiction homage. Wisely, the artist behind the shirt has replaced the handguns featured in the bloody film with weapons more familiar to baseball fans — a hot dog gun and a t-shirt cannon.
NBC Sports Philadelphia caught Harper’s entrance into the ballpark:
The shirt is the creation of the folks at South Fellini on Passyunk Avenue. Perhaps not surprisingly, the shop’s official website crashed due to the intense interest in the T-shirt, but the business is also selling it on its Etsy page for $25.
John Zito, co-owner of the store, said Harper reached out to South Fellini on Instagram after signing with the Phillies, saying his wife was a big fan of their products. Zito responded by mailing the couple matching editions of the “Phan Fiction” T-shirt.
“We send stuff out all the time and don’t expect much to come from it,” Zito said. “But [Harper] was nice enough to wear it here on opening day, which is just crazy huge.”
Zito said he was unsure how many shirts South Fellini sold Thursday, but said the store’s website logged almost 50,000 visitors before it crashed due to the intense traffic.
The shirt is just the most recent example of Harper’s enthusiastic efforts to connect with Phillies fans ahead of his highly anticipated debut with the team. In an Instagram post earlier this week, Harper cited the Liberty Bell and Chase Utley, and alluded to an urban legend regarding Nick Foles’ unmentionables.
“I’m gonna grow my family in this city ... I can’t wait to be part of the Phillies for a long period of time,” Harper said during his introductory press conference earlier this month. “I want to be part of this organization, I don’t want to go anywhere else. I want to be part of this family, this Philly nation. Through the bumps, the bruises, the good the bad, I want to be here.”