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July 16, 2018

Bryce Harper

Ron Harper

Washington, D.C.

THE MODERATOR: Congrats to Bryce for winning the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and congratulations to Ron, great night for the Harper family.

Q. How can you explain the emotion and what does it mean, what you did tonight?
BRYCE HARPER: It's unbelievable. I think just having the crowd out there and really feeding off them. We have some of the best fans in all of baseball, and to be able to that with my family out there, that's an incredible moment, not only for me but for the organization and the Nationals fans, and I'm very blessed and humbled.

Q. It was certainly quite a flurry there for the last 30 seconds for you guys. What was the emotion and how did you settle in to get those last few ones?
BRYCE HARPER: Yeah, I think I had nine the second time out. I knew I had 30 seconds. I walked over and I saw Max and go, Max I have to hit nine. And he goes, you've got to hit ten. And he's like, okay, there you go. Davey is over there giving me this (cheering). We're firing up and knew he was going to be locked in. He hit my barrel nine straight or something like that.

I mean, I couldn't be more fortunate than to have him throwing for me and just so blessed, and, I mean, I don't know, I've got one of the best families in all the world and just so happy to be able to share that moment with them and with my family and this crowd and these fans. Man, they did a great job.

Q. Obviously the first half has been, you know, tough at times I think. Was tonight a little bit of an emotional release for you? You just seemed to be having so much fun. Do you think it might be something that can kick start you a little bit?
BRYCE HARPER: I mean, I've hit some pretty good homers this year, so going out there and hitting homers, you know, is a lot of fun. I think as a team, I think you know, we can do a lot better as a group, as a whole. And personally, of course, I want to be hitting .300 and driving in runs and stuff like that.

I feel like whatever I've got at the break, I'm fortunate to be there, and I think as a team we need to keep going and keep grinding. 5 1/2 at the break, we're fortunate to be there.

Q. Not all the guys play in this stadium every day like you do. How did some of the longer home runs you saw tonight compare to the ones you've seen here over the years?
BRYCE HARPER: I wasn't really watching much. I watched that last one with Muncy, with Schwarber and that was about it. I was just trying to stay as calm as I could down in the clubhouse and down the tunnel and just have some fun and enjoy the moment.

I mean that's what it's all about, I woke up this morning and talking to my wife, I was like, I just want to enjoy it, win, lose or draw. That's all I can ask for, and to have the crowd show up like they did and to have the support of my family, like I said, and my D.C. family, and Dave Martinez out there fired up as all-get up.

I have one of the best managers in all the baseball, glad to have him at our helm. He's a guy I would run through a brick wall for, and I was trying to do that for him tonight.

Q. Where does this rank on your list of accomplishments?
BRYCE HARPER: I don't have to do it ever again, so that's good. (Laughter) This is something you grow up and you want. I think the past month or so, I've been thinking about it, and to be able to get this trophy -- this is one of the cooler trophies, MVP is cool, but that plaque -- this is really cool. It's one of the best I have. Kind of right up there with my Silver Slider. I'm really happy to have it.

Q. Have you ever won a Home Run Derby before in any amateur events or showcase?
BRYCE HARPER: I haven't. But if I did, then that's cool, but I never did. But this one is way cooler than any of those.

Q. This one's for your dad. How proud are you of Bryce and were you worried about your arm at all?
MR. RON HARPER: No. In 2013, I struggled a little bit. I think I hit him. I threw a lot of bad pitches, but I scooted up a little bit this year. I got eight anchors in my shoulder. Had a couple shoulder surgeries. He took a few years and that's what he wanted to do, and I said I'd be ready.

I was fortunate enough for him to ask me to do it, and I was happy I could at least get locked in for a minute and get him over that hump. I was worried, like, oh, don't screw this up for both of us (laughing).

But he came through. He did great. So I'm really proud of him. I love him to death, man. He's a great kid. You couldn't ask for anything better.

Q. For both you guys, baseball is such a journey between fathers and sons from when you're 5 to 25 years from now. What does tonight, being able to share the 60 feet away with your dad and with your son, what's this going to mean to you guys moving forward?
BRYCE HARPER: Yeah, I think this is just another stepping stone of what we have done together throughout my whole life. You know, sitting back and looking at it and looking over the past, you know, 20 years of my life, and I'm still young. I'm still 25. We've got a long time together.

So he's taught me the right way and taught me to really just take it all in and enjoy what I do, and when I saw him get up at two o'clock in the morning and work his tail off until two o'clock in the afternoon, he was still picking me up from school and coming out to baseball practice or football practice or baseball practice, no matter what, whether he got only one hour of sleep or two hours of sleep and working, he was still doing his thing.

I'm so blessed to have the family I do. The work ethic, that's where I get it all from and very blessed and thankful for the family that I do have and looking forward to, you know, just everything I can do with him and we can do for the next whatever many years.

Q. You said started your day with the baseball field, giving back and now, giving back to the fans, the things you're able to do to make fans happy; I can see all the concession people so excited when you were hitting home runs and pumping their fists. To leave that kind of impact here, what does it mean to you?
BRYCE HARPER: I think one of my favorite things is walking in and seeing the workers and, you know, really having that relationship with them. It's a lot of fun. I think it's -- I've been here since I was 17 years old. You know, it's something that I've grown in front of these fans and I've grown in front of the media and these people, and everybody that, you know, has a say in it or has a job here.

You know, that's the security up front or the guy that works the parking lot, anything. I love talking and sitting down and seeing everybody every single day. Those are the relationships that you love. Those are the things that you see every single day and look at it and go, man, you know, that's what it's all about. Really treating everybody the right way, treating them with respect, having fun, smiling, laughing. You know, I think outside the game, I think you guys got a gist of how I feel on a basis of having fun and enjoying, you know, this game and things like that.

I'm very serious on the field, I am. I'm a very serious player. I enjoy the game, and I want to win every single game I play, and I want to do everything I can to help this team win on a daily basis and you guys see that.

But off the field, that's the kid you see out there tonight and I was fortunate to share that with you guys and show that to the fans. This wasn't only for me and my family and everybody like that but this is for, you know, the cook, the guy that works the front, and the people that work upstairs. I mean, this is the whole City of D.C. I was very fortunate to be able to bring this back to them and do it here.

Q. For both of you. I'm going to assume you've probably thrown BP to Bryce a thousand million times in your life. But at what point tonight did you really get to realize, okay, you could probably take this home at Nats Park?
MR. RON HARPER: When he had 18 and we still had extra time.

No, seriously, I just felt like if we got on a little bit of a roll -- which I struggled there a little bit. I just knew if we got on a little bit of a roll, we could win it because I knew he could hit 20, 25 if he had extra time and could get going. And we'd seen he'd won with 12 or 13. They were lower numbers, so he didn't get to see what he could do in a full round. I figured he could get 20, maybe a little bit more. But it was a lot of fun. I had a blast and I'm glad he barrelled up about eight in a row there. He saved me.

Q. Can you just put into words the adrenaline that goes through your body when there's so much energy in the building? I mean, it seemed like you really fed off that, and it was something that was just unbelievable, undescribable.
BRYCE HARPER: Yeah, I think the one person I looked at was, you know, my mom and my wife, and they were sitting there, and I could see my mom going, oh, man, oh man, oh man, oh man (indicating head in hands in worry) It's like, okay, guys, don't worry, I got this. We'll get this done.

Looking out at my dad sitting there, one ball, one strike, one ball, one strike, and bam, hit eight in a row. And it was like, here we go, we're rolling. We've talked about it in the off-season where we went to the high school field in Vegas, and we've sat there and I've hit 14 in a row on the street or something like that. And it's like, okay, if we get in the Derby, we're going to win this thing.

I know we've talked about that for a long time, and we were able to do that tonight and get 18 with 30 seconds left. Wow, that was pretty awesome.

MR. RON HARPER: That's pretty cool. I was thinking the same thing. We've seen it. We know you can get on that kind of a roll, but I said to him -- he played in a lot of tournaments and there's one in Cooperstown, Dreams Park. They bring in a hundred teams every month or every week, and these guys, they play a boatload of games. And it's from ages 10, 11, 12, or something and he won the 12-year-old home run contest at 11, and that's when I told him, I loved what I just saw --

BRYCE HARPER: I forgot. That question -- (laughter).

MR. RON HARPER: Forgot it.

BRYCE HARPER: Totally forgot that. That was pretty cool, too.

MR. RON HARPER: It was a 12-year-old, and he won it, King of Swat or something, it's called. I told him, you were that guy tonight.

BRYCE HARPER: There you go.

Q. That moment with Willson during the time out, what did he say to you?
BRYCE HARPER: He says, hey, Puffy, you got this. You know Willson, he's got that deep voice, and "Nobody better, nobody better."

Me and Willy had a good relationship when he was here. He's had a great year this year. Very excited for him and very excited for his family. Just seeing Buffalo, he's a welcoming person, and you know, it was cool. It was a cool moment, I think for not me personally but the fans of D.C., as well. That was really cool.

Q. The league struggled a little bit to fill out the field for this year's Derby. Why do you think that was, and if guys ask you, now that you've been through it, about participating, what would you tell them about your experience?
BRYCE HARPER: If it's your home crowd, 100 percent do it. I mean, that was the biggest thing for me. I wanted to do it in front of my home crowd. If it wasn't in front of my home crowd this year, I wouldn't have done it. That was my biggest thing. I knew coming in 2013, that it was going to be in D.C. -- or in 2014 it was going to be D.C., said it for a couple years now, and I know people were upset I didn't go last year or the year before or whatever, but I knew this year I wanted to be here this year in D.C.

I mean, wow, if you are able to do it in your home park, 100 percent, do it. But if you don't. So be it, but in your home park, I mean, that was incredible. Incredible.

Q. Going into it, Freddie Freeman in the first round, you guys have been palling around a lot this week. What was more important to you: Getting the title or beating Freddie in the first round?
BRYCE HARPER: Freddie's awesome. I love Freddie. He's one of the best guys to talk to at first base. It's unbelievable, and the things he says to me are incredible. This guy hits 900 every single year and it's like, "Hey, Freddie, how are you doing."

"Feel terrible." (Dejected tone)

He's got two jacks and a double against us and he's upset.

He's great. We were just going back and forth today, that was just a lot of fun. But being able to win it and see the guys that were in it. And Muncy had that huge round; Hoskins, being able to get that first round out of the way the way he did, unbelievable. Schwarber, Baez, he's one of my favorite players in all of baseball, just the way he plays, his swag and the way he plays the game, the way he uncoils and the way he thinks. He told me up here before the thing, he says, "Hey, do you think if I get tired on the right side, I can hit on the left side?"

I was like, man, if you do that on the left side, that would be epic. I wish he would have gotten a little more tired because I would loved to have seen it. Just great being on the field and having a lot of fun being around the guys enjoying that.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations to Bryce and Ron. Appreciate it. FastScripts by ASAP Sports ...

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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