(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON (AP) The ball cleared the center field wall, and the sellout crowd roared. Bryce Harper threw his bat in the air, thrust both index fingers skyward and yelled with delight as a shower of streamers rained upon the crowd of 43,698.
It could have been a scene from a playoff game. That it was merely the All-Star Home Run Derby mattered not to Harper or the Washington Nationals fans, who were thrilled to see their hometown hero deliver the night's final longball Monday.
In the midst of it all - and in the middle of trying season - Harper grabbed the microphone and said: "This crowd: Wow! Washington Nationals, baby!"