Star-span­gled bat yields a ban­ner day

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/ na­tion­al­sjour­nal

Bryce Harper used a new bat Satur­day. He home­red on the third pitch he saw with it, then fol­lowed with a dou­ble and sin­gle. Most play­ers stick with bats that make de­buts like that. Harper will prob­a­bly re­tire his, a ca­reer .750 hitter.

Al­ways a show­man, Harper took pa­tri­o­tism to an un­prece­dented level dur­ing the Na­tion­als’ 9-3 win over the Giants. His bat had a navy bar­rel, il­lus­trated with the Amer­i­can flag and a sil­hou­ette of the D.C. skyline— the U.S. Capi­tol , Lin­coln Me­mo­rial and the Washington Mon­u­ment, all in navy and white.

Harper was sup­posed to use the bat in Ja­pan this off­sea­son, when he was sched­uled to play with a team of ML Ball-stars. He ended up not mak­ing the trip and never had an op­por­tu­nity to use it.

“I had that one and a camo one, ac­tu­ally. Had it in the back, brought it to spring train­ing— I don’t know why I brought it— and I went back there to­day and was like, ‘If I get in trou­ble swing­ing it, so be it,’ ” Harper said. “I thought it was pretty cool, pretty pa­tri­otic. Def­i­nitely be­ing in D.C. and play­ing for the Na­tion­als, it’s even cooler.”

Harper also used pa­tri­otic bat­ting gloves to go with the starspan­gled num­bers on the jer­seys and also sported high stir­rups for the oc­ca­sion.

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