Bryce Harper honors Harambe with special bat knob before Game 5

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has come a long way in his support of Internet memes. After somewhat famously mispronouncing the word last November, things have changed. Harper appears to have found at least one meme he enjoys.

Prior to Game 5 of the National League Division Series, Harper honored the memory of Harambe, the gorilla who was tragically killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in May.

Yup, that’s a bat knob that features a picture of a gorilla and the letters “RIP.” It’s a clear nod to Harambe.

Harper isn’t the only athlete who has embraced the #RIPHarambe trend in recent months. Back in September, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard wore an “RIP Harambe” shirt to the Cincinnati Zoo while on a road trip. There was also a certain Los Angeles Dodgers minor leaguer who gave Harambe a shoutout in one of Yasiel Puig’s Snapchats from a team party.

The Cincinnati Zoo, by the way, has spoken out against Harambe memes. They aren’t fans.

Personalized bat knobs were banned by Major League Baseball prior to the start of the season, so don’t bet on seeing Harper use the same bat during Game 5. If he does, he’ll likely be subject to a hefty fine.

Bryce Harper takes batting practice prior to Game 5 of the NLDS. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Bryce Harper takes batting practice prior to Game 5 of the NLDS. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

With that said, Harper’s choice of pre-game bat knob seems to suggest he’s pretty relaxed heading into such a big game. You don’t break out the RIP Harambe bat knob unless you’re having fun.

It’s also a risky move. Harper’s bat knob may prove that he’s all aboard the meme train now, but that will change the instant he gets the Crying Jordan treatment if the Nationals lose Thursday.

Be careful what you wish for, Bryce. The Internet is a cruel and unforgiving place.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik