Phillies slugger Bryce Harper’s return to Washington, D.C., was greeted with a hearty round of boos by Nationals fans Tuesday night. But it’s what happened next that drew the ire of Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy.
The boos in Nationals Park quickly shifted to loud cheers after Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer struck out Harper in the first inning. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network analyst and former MLB player F. P. Santangelo said he’d been waiting for that moment since Harper left the Nationals and signed with the Phillies at the end of February.
“. . . and that lived up to the billing,” Santangelo said. “Sometimes up here you’ve just got to turn into a fan and sit back and watch. That was awesome.”
That’s when McCarthy stepped in to roast Nationals fans.
"The Nats have never won a world championship since coming back to D.C., but they’re celebrating as if they’ve won something,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy isn’t wrong. Not only have the Nationals never won a World Series in the 50 years the franchise has existed (initially as the Montreal Expos), they haven’t won a playoff series since relocating to Washington, D.C., in 2005.
Of course, Nationals fans quickly ran out of reasons to cheer as the Phillies took control of the game. Harper’s two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning left Santangelo and the rest of MASN’s broadcast crew reminiscing about the first inning.
“I’ll tell you, man, in those first two innings he was in the Twilight Zone. We have shots of him in the dugout staring into the abyss. We had a shot of him in right field doing the same,” Santangelo said during the broadcast. “And somewhere along the line it turned into baseball game for Bryce Harper where it was super weird earlier."
At that point, Santangelo and his broadcast partner Bob Carpenter were among the only Nationals fans remaining in the stadium, most of whom left in the sixth inning, after the Phillies took a 6-0 lead.
The Phillies will face off against the Nationals again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m, with Aaron Nola taking on Anibal Sanchez. The game will air on NBC Sports Philadelphia, and can be heard on 94.1 WIP.