The Trea Turner grand slam on Saturday night was indeed the shot heard round the world during the comeback, 9-7, win over Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. It assisted in Team USA’s advance into the WBC semifinals.
But oh, it was so much more than that. The hit got a reaction that was fit for a tournament of this magnitude, including Turner’s Philadelphia Phillies teammate, Bryce Harper.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) March 19, 2023
Harper, who arrived at spring training later than the rest of his squad due to a UCL injury, had plenty to say about what Turner did.
“Anybody who has that moment in their career — I’ve always wanted guys to have success, no matter who it is,” Harper told reporters on Sunday, including MLB.com. “But it’s really cool to have a guy in your clubhouse do it because you know he’s on your team. That’s our shortstop. It’s an amazing thing to see Trea do that, knowing that he’s on our team now. That’s our guy. I think the fans were excited to see that. Smoltzie [FOX TV analyst John Smoltz] said last night our lineup is going to be electric. It should be, right?”
Turner signed an 11-year, $300-million contract this offseason, joining Harper on the squad that made it to the World Series in 2022.
The entirety of the game itself had Harper in excitement.
“It was such a cool moment,” Harper said. “Trout was like, ‘Hey, man. We miss you. We wish you were here.’ I definitely wish I was. It’s not bittersweet, though, because I’m so excited for those guys. I want them to win. It’s so exciting for them. It’s so cool. I hope they win [Sunday night], because I’ll probably go to the championship game [in Miami] on Tuesday.”
Harper is already putting the win out in the universe for the team. He also wanted to participate in the tournament himself, but his Tommy John surgery in November prevented such things. He doesn’t necessarily have a fear of missing out, but knows how to handle such high celebrations.
“We had a distinct way that we had to go about it as players,” Harper said. “Stoic. Just stay here. Don’t get excited. That’s kind of how they teach it at the USA baseball level. So seeing that come out is so cool because it matches the other team. It’s so great to see these players get excited about their country and playing for their country. I’m getting chills right now.”
Harper liked seeing the atmosphere as well, noting the American flags being waved and how the crowd was.
He was proud.
Harper still hopes the All-Star break timeline is a safe bet for his return from surgery, but did say it’s not a hard timetable. He’s also able to serve as a designated hitter before he returns as a full-time outfielder. There’s no rush.