The Washington Nationals will play the first MLB playoff game in 79 years inside the district this afternoon but they’ll do it under mostly sunny skies. That, of course, is likely better than the extreme shadows they dealt with this past week in St. Louis or what Thursday’s late-afternoon start might be like at Nationals Park.
But the players, particularly the outfielders, will have to battle the afternoon sun — not-so-affectionately dubbed the “Sun Monster” by Bryce Harper in September.
To that end, Harper popped out of the dugout during optional batting practice this morning wearing red contact lenses that had been recommended by his eye doctor to help fight the sun.
The contacts, which became popular a few years back and are still used by a lot of soccer goalies in Europe, are supposed to help block out UV rays and reduce glare the same way sunglasses would, and help green and red colors pop more to make the white ball easier to identify.
Harper wasn’t sure if he’d use them during the game — when he came out to test them there were clouds in front of the sun so he couldn’t get the best read — but it was interesting to see at least one player doing something somewhat out of the ordinary just in case the sun is bad at Nationals Park today.