At that time last year, Bryce Harper was the history of baseball. One of the best players in the sport, still without a contract.
Now he's an afterthought, calmly going about his business and preparing for his second season with the Phillies as everyone talks about the Astros sign-theft scandal.
And Harper, who has signed a 13-year $ 330 million contract with the Phillies, is thrilled.
"It's actually pretty nice," 27-year-old Harper told USA Today Sports. "Cameras aren't everywhere. They don't see ESPN and Fox every day. They don't have all of these trucks and weirdos going on. Everyone can only focus on our team and not just me.
"I think it's better for everyone in this clubhouse."
Harper's first year in Philadelphia left something to be desired. The Phillies won 81 games and finished fourth in the NL East while his old team, the Nationals, won the World Series. But Harper, who fought against .260 with 35 Homers and 114 RBI last year, doesn't sound like it. He claims to love his new team and his new city.
"When I was in Philly last year, I loved it every moment," he said. “You can see what a fan base can do, how much it understands, what passion and drive it has and what the history of this organization looks like. It's just fun. It is electrical to be around them to see the fan base and how pumped they are. I enjoyed every single moment of it. I love this team. We know what we can do as an organization and what we can do together as a city. We all. & # 39; & # 39;
Significant changes were made in the off-season. Joe Girardi was brought to administration. Didi Gregorius was added to Shortstop. The expectations are high. The hope is that the Phillies can do what Harper's old team did and make October sounds.
"The goal every year is to go deep into the playoffs, and we couldn't," said Harper. "We had bad news [losing 16 of the last 25 games], It’s just like that. But personally, it's amazing to be part of an organization that really cares about its players and families. The fans are proud of all their teams in the city. It's just a lot of fun to be part of an organization that's just great in every way. "