Washington Nationals: Top 10 moments from the 2018 season

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Washington Nationals Bryce Harper
Washington Nationals Bryce Harper /

1 – Bryce Harper’s magical Home Run Derby

This was one of those “bigger than baseball” moments in the season for the Washington Nationals and Bryce Harper. The superstar put on quite the show for the home crowd in the Home Run Derby in 2018.

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After he appeared in the exhibition event back in 2013, he Harper vowed that he wouldn’t do so again until 2018 when it was at Nats Park. He held true to that promise, despite others around the league refusing the invite thinking that it would “ruin their swing”.

In the first round, he was able to dispatch against long-time rival Freddie Freeman 13-12 with 30 seconds, but he proved he was able to get on a roll when he needed it and would need that later on.

Then against Max Muncy in the second round, he also beat him by a score of 13-12, this time with over a minute to spare. He was able to conserve a lot of energy in the first two rounds for a mammoth effort in the final.

Kyle Schwarber stood between Bryce Harper and the hometown win that he craved so much. The Cubs slugger put up an impressive total of 18, but it felt like Harper would be able to chase that down with ease.

But he got off to a sluggish start, he was nine homers down with 1:20 left on the clock as he took a timeout, and it looked like a longshot. It looked even longer when his Dad couldn’t find his groove out of the timeout.

Then they both locked in during a magical 55 seconds at Nationals Park. Harper would go on to hit nine home runs in just 11 swings, the crowd was shaking and just as loud as it has been during the wildest playoff games. Their hero was peppering home runs left and right and his fans loved it.

He finished his regulation time tied at 18-18, so all he had to do was hit one in his bonus 30 seconds. It took all of two swings to do that, and cue the mad celebrations on and off the field with Harper lifting the trophy.

We don’t know whether Harper will return to D.C. in this offseason or whether he’ll leave for another team. What we do know, is the HR Derby was the perfect opportunity for both to show their appreciation for one another and it showed the star outfielder just how much he was beloved despite his poor start to the season.

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There’s a long offseason ahead for the Washington Nationals, and despite the disappointing year, it’s always good to remember the good moments. We hope for more next year in 2019.