- Monday, May 30, 2011 7:41 AM
- Written By: Andrew Simon
On Sunday I made a pilgrimage, one that will change my life forever.
There I was in Kannapolis, N.C., to see with my own eyes Baseball's Chosen One. Yes, No. 1 pick and No. 1 prospect Bryce Harper was in town with his Hagerstown Suns to take on the Intimidators (changed for this series to the Intimidated). I could not pass up the opportunity to bear witness.
Now that it is over, I know I will never be the same. I learned, I grew, I transformed. And now, I share with you my report.
Surprise No. 1: I was able to procure a ticket to 4,700-seat Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium the morning of the game, paying $9 for a seat in the second row behind home plate. People in the Kannapolis area must not have embraced their new Harperian Overlord just yet. After this current series, I suspect they will come around.
Surprise No. 2: You can see something curious in this photo I took.
Notice how eight other players are listed on the Suns lineup along with Harper. I was under the impression he would fill every spot, with the Suns employing ghost runners if necessary.
First inning: He emerges from the dugout.
The breeze generated by each of Harper's warmup swings smelled like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
Surprise No. 3: Harper came to bat against someone named Dexter Carter, who somehow resisted the urge to simply curl into the fetal position on the mound.
Harper popped up to left field. I kind of felt like I had seen a supermodel without makeup or driven a Lamborghini that wouldn't go above 20 mph. But I had faith that if I was patient, I would be rewarded.
Third inning: Carter threw four pitches that were not worthy of Harper swings. Harper walked. Later in the inning, the Suns' Brett Newsome nobly and appropriately laid down his life with a sacrifice fly to get Harper home from third. The one thing people will always remember about Brett Newsome is that he knew his place. RIP
When Kannapolis came to plate in the bottom of the inning, Juan Silverio made the mistake of hitting a fly ball into Harper's air space in right field. Let's just say he was the last to do so that day.
Fifth inning: With one out and nobody on base, Kannapolis brings in lefty Wes Whisler to face the left-handed Harper. What Whisler had done to deserve this is uncertain. Ate the last cookie in the clubhouse before the game? Wouldn't stop singing Justin Bieber songs in the bullpen? Whatever it was, it must have been pretty bad. Observe:
Yes, Mighty Harper swung and crushed a massive home run to center field. The video quality isn't good enough to see it, but as the ball began its downward trajectory over the fence, a pair of angels came down and escorted it to its final resting place.
Surprise No. 4: Home plate umpire Aaron Reynolds called Harper out on strikes in the sixth. No sooner had Harper turned around to go back to the dugout than the home plate area opened up, and Reynolds was sucked into the abyss. There was a brief delay as the grounds crew got things re-settled.
Surprise No. 5: With Hagerstown leading 10-2, Suns manager and former big leaguer Brian Daubach put Harper on the bench to start the bottom of the seventh. Kevin Keyes went to right field but feeling the utter hopelessness of replacing Harper, simply sat down in the grass and stared dead-eyed at the ground.
Rest of the game: Some stuff happened, but Harper wasn't there, so what's the point?
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