Phillies' Bryce Harper Has Become Supervillain to Nationals Fans

106.7 The Fan

(106.7 FM The Fan) -- In case you weren't locked into the Nationals' Twitter account Friday afternoon, a seismic shift occurred with the organization in how it deals with Bryce Harper.

If you blinked, you would have missed it.

 

This is the first time, by my memory, the Nationals have acknowledged their former slugger as their now-enemy.

Remember, the first time Harper visited Nats Park in a Phillies uniform, the organization greeted him with a a glowing tribute video, which Nats fans -- on their own volition -- promptly booed through every second of.

But to make a highlight reel of someone's lowlights, Harper's three-strikeout game, including a swing-and-a-miss in which he looked buffoonish lunging at a changeup in the dirt? Amidst a season in which Harper's on pace to record over 200 strikeouts? And blasting it out on social media?

That's a distinctly different tact than before.

After Harper signed with the Phillies, the Nats went out of their way to speak politely of their former star, despite the inevitable path their relationship was heading down.

For Nationals fans - a typically overly polite fanbase - to reject those niceties so blatantly upon Harper's return this April, collectively acknowledging this guy is now a villain meant at some point the organization would have to do the same, or risk not appearing in lockstep with the very people who fill their ballpark.

That was a turning point for this fanbase. Some might say it was inevitable the moment Harper signed a 13-year deal with the Phillies.

The Nats are in a dogfight in the NL East, as their GM has stated repeatedly, and just completed a three-game sweep of the hated Phillies, thanks in large part to Harper's one-hit contribution, to claw within striking distance in the division. This is no time to play nice. This is what their fans are saying:

 

As sacrilegious as it was for Harper to choose Philly, of all places, it was the most direct route to reigniting a rivalry that's been languishing for the past seven years.

The Nationals now have a super villain in Bryce Harper. Their fans acknowledged as much way back on April 2.

Nothing's better than vanquishing a villain. Now the Nationals have acknowledged that, too.

Follow @ChrisLingebach and @1067TheFan