Bryce Harper celebrated the first Opening Day of his young major league career in style, hitting home runs to right field in his first two at-bats of the season.
Harper, who made all the analysts who selected him as their preseason National League Most Valuable Player feel good about themselves, saw eight total pitches in his first two at-bats.
In the first at-bat, he looked at a splitter from Ricky Nolasco and then sent a curveball into the right-field seats on a line drive. In the second at-bat, he worked the count to 3-2, looking at a changeup, a fastball and a splitter and fouling off a fastball and a slider.
When Nolasco delivered a 3-2 slider, Harper again sent it into the right-field seats, sending a packed Nationals Park into pandemonium and giving the Nationals a 2-0 lead.
As the fans at Nationals Park continued to shower the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year with cheers, Ryan Zimmerman stepped out of the batter’s box and Harper gave the fans what they wanted: a curtain call.
It is the third multi-homer game of Harper’s career, and the second to come against the Miami Marlins.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Harper joins Ryan Howard as the last Rookie of the Year to hit a home run on Opening Day in the year after earning the honors. Howard did it in 2006.
In a story in Monday’s Washington Times, Harper talked about embracing superstardom. With half of his first career Opening Day in the major leagues in the books, he’s already added to his own lore.