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MLB playoffs: The summer the circus (aka Bryce Harper) came to Oklahoma City

by Jacob Unruh Published: October 6, 2012
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/articleid/3716650/1/pictures/1851343">Photo - Bryce Harper is met by his Westmoore teammates after hitting a two-run home run for Westmoore in the fourth inning of a summer-league game in 2009. Harper spent a week in Oklahoma City, playing for Westmoore’s summer-league team. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, The Oklahoman Archives
Bryce Harper is met by his Westmoore teammates after hitting a two-run home run for Westmoore in the fourth inning of a summer-league game in 2009. Harper spent a week in Oklahoma City, playing for Westmoore’s summer-league team. PHOTO BY NATE BILLINGS, The Oklahoman Archives

One home run even came on demand late in a game when he had yet to homer with his usual wooden bat. So he decided to use an aluminum bat.

“This was his last at-bat and everybody was like, ‘Come on; let's do it. We want a home run,' and stuff like that,” said Caleb St. Laurent, now a walk-on middle infielder at TCU. “He came up with a metal bat and just demolished one over the fence.”

But as impressive on the field as Harper was, he was equally impressive dealing with the “circus.”

He signed nearly every autograph, talked to media and yet still found time to be a kid with his teammates.

“It kind of seemed like he had dealt with that his entire life,” St. Laurent said. “It was almost a normal part of his everyday life. He has always been the best player on the field, so it seemed like he had dealt with that his entire life.”

Brooks said the frenzy got to the point where they had to limit autographs to kids only and they had to force Harper to go home to get rest.

But Harper kept delivering every day.

And the fans kept showing up, much like they do now in the major leagues.

It's not surprising for his former Westmoore connections to see him hit a home run or leg out a double on TV. In fact, it's expected.

“To me it sounds kind of dumb, but every time I see him play it's kinda like nothing,” Glasgow said. “I just think, ‘Ha, I played with that guy.' Especially when everyone around you is going, ‘Oh my gosh. Have you seen this guy? Did you se what he did last night?' I'm like, ‘Yeah, that's what he does.'”

What he did for the Westmoore players was also invaluable, Brooks said. He showed them how hard they had to work to be successful. He also showed them what a full stadium is like.

But the circus always moves on to another town.

“He left and the next game there's a lot of people there and the next game it was just back to our parents,” St. Laurent said. “It was incredible to me because those people were just there to watch Bryce Harper.”

by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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