Some Philadelphia athletes never figure out how to deal with the city’s demanding fans, but it seems like Bryce Harper has found the right formula: Hit dingers and give the fans the hat off your head.
The National League MVP sat out the Phillies’ series this week against the San Diego Padres while recovering from treatment for his UCL injury. While Harper was chilling in the dugout, a group of fans in nearby seats got his attention and he gave them a wave. A couple of innings later, Harper got their attention back and waived his game-used hat – which he autographed – at them and said that he wanted to make a trade.
“He was like, ‘Yo, bro, can I swap hats with your boy?,'” Gavin McHugh – one of the fans – said Harper told him.
It was Keith Maguire, Jr. – a lifelong Phillies fan who grew up in nearby Media, Pennsylvania – whose hat Harper spotted. Maguire is actually a linebacker for the Clemson Tigers, but is back home in the City of Brotherly Love for the summer.
“I realized this morning I had no Phillies stuff with me, it’s all at school,” Maguire told MLB.com. “I said I’ll just buy something when I get to the game … This nice hat was sitting up on the rack right next to the register, so I said I might as well.”
How the Exchange Took Place
Maguire tossed his hat to Harper, who promptly returned the favor. The moment was caught by the NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast. Shortly after, Maguire’s phone was blowing up.
“I’m getting videos, I’m getting texts, I’m getting tweets, I can’t get anything to load,” he said. “All these things [happened] in a matter of three minutes. By the time the seventh inning rolled around, it was full-blown all over the place. I know a bunch of kids on the Clemson baseball team. They texted me. ‘No way, this is crazy. I’ve got to see this when you come back.’ It was all over the place.”