Bryce Harper couldn’t resist an opportunity to troll Washington Nationals fans during Thursday’s game. But a well-played payoff to his shenanigans turned him from villain to hero in the eyes of most observers.
After catching the last out in the third inning, Harper scoured the stands at Nationals Park and teased tossing the ball to several of his now-former fans. Not satisfied with his options, Harper then tucked the baseball away like a scrambling quarterback and retreated toward the Philadelphia Phillies dugout.
At first, it appeared Harper was happy to milk the crowd for boos, of which he received many. But we quickly saw his real intentions.
Once he spotted a group of Phillies fans near the team’s dugout, he ran right over and delivered the baseball to a thrilled young fan.
Of course, Nationals fans continued raining down boos even in the aftermath of his kind gesture. Harper gave them a legitimate reason to do so his next at-bat, ripping a run-scoring single to get Philadelphia on the board in the next inning.
Nationals fans had more chances to boo, too. Looking to jolt his struggling offense, manager Gabe Kapler inserted Harper into the leadoff spot for the first time this season.
The change didn’t have the desired impact. Aside from the single, Harper was hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.
The Phillies also lost the game, 7-4. So I guess we could say Harper and the Phillies made the day of all Nationals fans as well.
More from Yahoo Sports: