What Bryce Harper said about his game-ending mistake

Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson (28) reacts to getting the final out by forcing out Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper (3) on a fly ball in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the NL Division Series on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Atlanta. The Braves won 5-4.

A mistake from first baseman Bryce Harper contributed to the Philadelphia Phillies’ loss in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves on Monday.

The Phillies were down a run in the ninth inning with one out. Harper had been walked and was waiting on first base when teammate Nick Castellanos hit a fastball deep into the outfield.

Braves center fielder Michael Harris II made a leaping catch to get the second out and threw it to the infield in search of the double play.

Harper had already passed second base at the time of the catch and had to return to first to tag up and avoid the double out. He didn’t make it and the game ended. The Braves won, tying the series up 1-1.

It wasn’t Harper’s first aggressive base-running decision of this postseason.

He ignored third base coach Dusty Wathan’s signal to stop in the Phillies’ first wild card game against the Miami Marlins on Oct. 3. That decision payed off with Harper scoring.

What did Bryce Harper say after the game?

After the loss to the Braves, Harper was asked if he thought he had a shot at getting back to first. He said he was “just taking a chance” in a video shared by NBC Sports Philadelphia on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

“(Harris) made a good play,” he said. “I probably shouldn’t have gone over second base. But, you know, I made a decision, and, you know, I’ll live with that.”

The Phillies host games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Thursday and will look to win the series at home. Harper thinks home-field advantage will pay off, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“You absolutely want to come in and go 2-0, but we did our job, we went 1-1 and we’re going back home to play two in front of our home crowd and I think we’re all looking forward to that,” he said. “We’ve got the best fans in the world. They’ve got to come in and beat us.”

What did Phillies manager Rob Thomson say after the game?

After the game, reporter Tim Kelly asked Phillies manager Rob Thomson for his thoughts on Harper’s decision to pass second base.

“Usually you don’t pass the base,” he said. “You stay in front of it, make sure it’s not caught. But (Harper) thought the ball was clearly over (Harris’) head, didn’t think he was going to catch it. And Harris made an heck of a play. Unbelievable. (Harper) tried to get back, and he slipped, but usually you stay in front of the second base.”

Who is Bryce Harper?

Harper is a first baseman/outfielder for the Phillies. He spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Washington Nationals.

He is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife, Kayla Varner Harper, a former BYU soccer player, met with President Russell M. Nelson and Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf while in town for the church’s 188th Semiannual General Conference in 2018, as the Deseret News previously reported.

He shared his feelings about the experience in an Instagram post.

“As I sit here in the Salt Lake City airport I’ve been pondering about the last couple days I was able to spend in Utah with all my family,” he wrote, per Deseret News. “Of course you all know my season came to an end this year quite early & that was very unfortunate, but with that being said I was sitting back & thinking this will be the first year me and my wife will be able to attend General Conference and hear from the amazing leaders of our Church.”

The following quote from Harper was shared by Elder Gary E. Stevenson in 2019 during general conference, as reported by the Deseret News.

“I thought fame, fortune, and an MVP award would make me happy,” he said. “Something was missing. So, I ... prepared and (entered) the temple. I am now on a path to (return) to my Heavenly Father and have an eternal family ... the greatest joy in the world!”