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Bryce Harper joins softball game at Washington Monument (VIDEO)

Big League Stew

So these folks from the World Wildlife Foundation and the Alliance to Save Energy were playing slow-pitch softball on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Monday night when a certain Washington Nationals rookie sensation happened by. What's a 19-year-old Major League Baseball player going to do on his first day off in the bigs? Bryce Harper just couldn't help himself:

Courtesy: Lucian Mattia

He actually missed on his first swing! That's OK; Harper often points out that he faces an adjustment period his first time around a new league. He probably enjoyed hearing a bat go "ping" again, though, once he made contact.

Was Harper simply being wistful about missing his GED class trip to the nation's capital because of a baseball tournament, so he thought he'd give himself a walking tour of the sites and — lo, and behold! — there happened to be a baseball-like game in progress?

[Related: The 10 best moments from Bryce Harper's Nationals debut]

Not exactly. Here's what participant Reed Sandridge told The Stew's own Kevin Kaduk on Twitter about Harper joining the fun:

He was hanging out watching softball (doing some promo video) & we offered him an at bat! Sadly I couldnt run down his pop fly.

Harper makes himself easily spot-able with that haircut. I like the one guy faux-mocking him: "No batter, no batter!" But demanding that the "rookie" run out his fly ball? Pushing it. Sometimes it's better to say too little and leave them wanting more.

The video's YouTube description adds:

Bryce Harper stops by the Washington Monument fields on his first day in DC and takes a few swings during a softball game. Regardless of the outcome, he was a good sport and a good guy.

We can take several things away from this:

Harper is not too cool for school (despite skipping his senior year of high school). He's also an addict when it comes to a bat and ball. It's like Michael Jordan putting the rider in his contract with the Bulls that cleared him to play in any pickup hoops game, anytime he wanted. Baseball is Harper's drug.

View photo



The scene also sort of reminded me of Willie Mays playing stick ball with those kids in Harlem back in the day. Not that Harper has the gravitas of Willie Mays (yet), and not that Harper's softball buddies are as adorable as Willie's buddies from 60 years ago. But we'll be watching this video and saying "Do you remember .. ?" when Harper turns 80.

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