MLB London Series: Bryce Harper shows off soccer-style celebration after home run in Phillies' win over Mets

The Philadelphia Phillies won the first game of the 2024 MLB London Series, defeating the New York Mets, 7–2, on Saturday.

Philadelphia hit three home runs in the win, but with no disrespect intended to Whit Merrifield and Nick Castellanos, Bryce Harper showed London how much of a star he is and captured the moment with his celebration after putting the Phillies on the board with his long ball.

Harper launched a high and inside slider from Mets starter Sean Manaea into the right field seats, which was enough of a spectacle for the fans in London Stadium. But “The Showman” lived up to his nickname as he approached the Phillies dugout, sliding on his knees to celebrate like a soccer player who just scored a goal.

“Let’s go! I love soccer! I love soccer,” Harper yelled as he high-fived his teammates in the dugout.

The slide was the Phillies slugger’s most emphatic acknowledgement to the game’s setting. Before his first two at-bats, Harper first played the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” for his walkup song, then followed it up with The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” before he hit his 15th homer of the season.

Though the solo home run tied the score at 1–1, it may have indicated an eventual Phillies victory. So far this season, Philadelphia is 22–0 when Harper has an RBI, according to ESPN. The Phillies improved to 44–19 for the best record in the National League and a nine-game first-place lead in the NL East.

Following the game, Harper told reporters that he didn’t tell his teammates that he planned the soccer-style slide because he wanted to surprise them. However, Phillies manager Rob Thomson admitted getting nervous when seeing Harper go to his knees.

“I kind of was just wondering if I was going to actually do it when I got across home plate,” said Harper, via The Associated Press. “My only fear was if I got caught on the turf with my knees, but it didn’t happen.”

Saturday’s game was a celebration for the Phillies, who took the opportunity to enjoy the team’s international trip. Several members of Philadelphia’s 2008 World Series championship team — including Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino — reunited on the field during batting practice.

One player from the club who wasn’t there? Jayson Werth, whose horse, Dornach, won the Belmont Stakes Saturday afternoon. Werth said the win was “right up there” with winning the World Series. Would his former teammates have agreed? Perhaps that conversation can take place in October.

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