Harper had been used to taking the field at Citizens Bank Park as a visiting player for the Washington Nationals. On Tuesday, the Phillies held their first workout of 2019 on their home field, and the newest Phillie admitted it was an a bit of an adjustment walking out of the home dugout.
"I was walking up the steps and it was definitely different not being on the other side," said Harper. "But coming up the steps, it was cool to see Citizens Bank from that side. Then just imagining the crowd and the fans, I can even envision what it's going to be like. I'm very excited to see what it's going to be like and what the ovation is going to be. Not just for myself, but for my teammates as well."
All of the Phillies should receive a warm welcome on Thursday when they take the field for opening day. There is a sense of extra excitement heading into this season with many believing the Phillies can get back to the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Expectations are high with the addition of Harper along with several other talented newcomers.
Manager Gabe Kapler is prepared for a pressure packed season and welcomes the challenge of what lies ahead.
"I have no concerns about high expectations," Kapler said. "I actually think high expectations bring out the best in people. I think it brings out the best in groups, in teams, and I think we've all recognized it from an organization standpoint."
If the Phillies are to meet those lofty goals set for the season, they will need another big year from Aaron Nola. The Phillies ace will be on the mound for the opener and could get plenty of extra run support this season with the likes of Harper in the lineup.
For Nola, it will be business as usual, no matter how many more runs go on the scoreboard.
Harper is convinced the chemistry is already intact for the 2019 Phillies.
"It was definitely nerve-wracking and I was nervous as well walking in there," Harper said. "But from day one, it felt right. We talk about family, being a family and being one unit. I get that from this team. Every guy has your back and vice-versa. I'm very excited to go to battle with these guys. I think everyone in the clubhouse is very excited."