Bryce Harper says he has more freedom in Philly: 'I can be Bryce' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Some guys just can't help themselves, can they?
Bryce Harper, the former Nationals star and current Phillies outfielder, once again made headlines Thursday afternoon after his comments about how his experience today is different than it was three or four years ago (in Washington).
The former face of the Nationals doesn't overtly reference any specific issues during his time in the nation's capital, but he does speak glowingly about his newfound freedom to speak his mind - implying that he didn't have the same luxury in Washington.
"I feel like I speak more free here in Philadelphia than I did prior, being able to talk to you guys and just be myself, I guess you could say. That's always fun," Harper told Phillies reporters on Thursday. "I don't know, I love playing in Philadelphia, too. So I feel like I can take advantage of that and be Bryce and just be myself here in Philadelphia. They've never once said to me 'Calm down, or do this or do that, we want you to be this type or that type.' They've kind of just let me be me, and they've liked that as well. And I really just appreciate the Philly organization for doing that for me."
The implication here is that Harper's former organization - the Nationals - didn't let him "be Bryce."
Of course, Harper's previous quotes, even as recently as 2018, tell a different story of his time with the Nats.
Harper could be referring to anybody, including teammates, the franchise itself, local media members or even fans in the city. As the most highly-touted draft prospect in decades, Harper faced enormous expectations after he'd been drafted first overall in 2010. And while he established himself as a star and even won an MVP award, the team's postseason failures were often held against him.
Whatever Harper is thinking, it's a good thing for him that he is happy to be in Philadelphia. His 13-year mega contract isn't going to be up until 2032, so he still has another 11 years to go to speak his mind so freely with his new team.