It was the comment that launched 1,000 home runs.
Bryce Harper didn’t need any extra motivation facing the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, but his teammates decided to give him some anyway.
The Philadelphia Phillies star was the final out in a Game 2 loss after his baserunning miscue got him doubled off first base. After the game, Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia was overheard by a media member mocking Harper in Atlanta’s clubhouse, saying, “Atta boy, Harper!”
Prior to Game 3 on Wednesday, Harper said his teammates informed him of the comment. He went on to hit two home runs – the Phillies as a team hit a postseason-record-tying six – and Harper made sure to shoot Arcia a stare as he rounded the bases each time.
“They just kind of told me, and they looked at me, and they were like, what are you going to do?” Harper said of Arcia’s comments following the 10-2 win, according to ASAP Sports.
Did those comments motivate Harper?
“I mean, anytime anybody says something, right? I mean, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
Did he enjoy staring him down?
“Yeah, I mean, I stared right at him,” he said.
When asked following the game, Arcia said he has no issue with Harper and doesn’t know if his comments were extra motivation for his opponent.
“I can’t control where he looks. He can look wherever he wants,” Arcia said via an interpreter, per NBC Sports Philadelphia.
He added: “When you’re in the clubhouse, I was under the impression you could say whatever you wanted. … He wasn’t supposed to hear; that’s why we were talking in the clubhouse.”
Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud didn’t take issue with Harper’s celebration but did have a problem with Arcia’s comment getting reported.
“The clubhouse is a sanctuary, and I think when things like that get out, it doesn’t make people want to talk to the media at all,” d’Arnaud said, per Kelly Crull of Bally Sports South.
Philadelphia has a chance to eliminate Atlanta on Thursday at home in Game 4 and advance to the NLCS for a second straight season.
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