- - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The foregone conclusion has always been that if the New York Yankees, who kicked off a two-game series against the Nationals at Nationals Park Tuesday night, want free-agent-in-waiting Bryce Harper, they’re going to get him.

Sure, the Evil Empire has the cash, the history and the glamour of Broadway to dangle in front of the Nationals All-Star, but to just assume the District has no chance of keeping Harper seems a little defeatist.

After all, despite what the current residents of the White House might think, there are plenty of good reasons to choose the District over Manhattan, right? OK, maybe not Manhattan, but over the Bronx, at least, right?

District fans don’t mind sharing: District hockey fans will give Harper a pass and let him root for his hometown Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals — even if the expansion team ends up facing the Washington Capitals. Don’t expect those hardcore New York Rangers, New York Islanders or New Jersey Devils fans to be as forgiving.

Nosh for less: The legendary half-smoke at Ben’s Chili Bowl: $5.95. The signature pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Deli, the Manhattan eatery where actress Meg Ryan had her famous scene in “Harry Met Sally”: $21.45. Harper could potentially be looking at a historic $400 million deal when this season ends. But with the higher cost of living, the state and local taxes and the price of real estate in New York City, a fellow could burn through a cool half-billion in no time.

Fewer paparazzi: Harper once hit softballs on the National Mall and was treated like a normal person. That probably wouldn’t happen in Central Park, plus he might get in trouble if he ran over Bette Milder at home plate.

At least the Knicks are not here: The Washington Wizards may have some flaws, but at least they are not the New York Knicks.

The District loves monuments: Harper just had a field named after him in the Takoma section of the District, and he is still an active player. The House that (Babe) Ruth built no longer exists in New York.

Pompadour competition: New York has some of the most beautiful actors and models in the world wandering around lower Manhattan, their long, flowing locks whipping about in the wind. In D.C., we have Harper and Donald Trump. Lots less competition in the hair department.

Our Metro’s clean enough for moms: We get fewer trains, they cost more and they catch on fire, but you have to admit: The D.C. Metro system is much cleaner looking than the New York subway system.

You want history? Here’s history: The Nationals have used five catchers already this season. If Harper, a catcher in his youth, sticks around long enough, he might get to catch Max Scherzer and be part of the most formidable battery in history.

It’s all in the numbers: Harper wears No. 34 as a salute to his hero, Mickey Mantle. Mantle wore No. 7 and of course three plus four equals seven. But four minus three equals one and if Harper signed a contract extension with the Nationals he could end his career by playing for just one team. That is the same thing Mantle did, playing for the Yankees from 1951 to 1968.

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