What does it take to get the reigning National League MVP’s bat hot on a cool night in Washington, D.C.?
A dugout heater, of course.
Bryce Harper was 0-for-3 Tuesday night and his club was struggling to put runs across the plate against a winless Atlanta Braves team. The Nats’ fortunes changed, however, in the eighth with runners on first and second and Harper due to arrive at the plate.
Moments before he climbed out the dugout, MASN cameras spotted Harper warming his hands and bat in front of an orange floor heater.
“Going no gloves, keeping the hands warm. Maybe heating that pine tar up a little,” said Nationals TV commentator F.P. Santangelo. “When you put that bat in front of the warmer it makes that pine tar a little bit wet again. It (pine tar) will get cold on a night like tonight and get real dry.”
Whether it was warming his hands, his bat or both, the technique worked on this 51-degree night. (Or, maybe it was the fact that No. 34 is quite the slugger.)
Harper slapped the first pitch he saw from Braves’ lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty into left field. Jeff Francoeur attempted a diving catch, but the ball bopped off his glove, giving Harper a two-run double as Stephen Drew and Anthony Rendon scored.
Temps in D.C. are expected to be about the same Wednesday night, in the mid to low 50s, so perhaps the entire team should gather around the heater and not wait until the eighth inning to put away the Braves.
— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) April 13, 2016