(Bryce Harper in a Curly W lid surrounded by University of South Carolina players before Saturday's game vs. Santa Clara. The guy behind Harper's right shoulder is Jackie Bradley Jr., MVP of the 2010 College World Series. Photo is by Juan Blas of TheBigSpur.com.)
How did Bryce Harper spend the final weekend before his first Spring Training?
Hey, look: Bryce Harper is on Twitter. Welcome, @BHarp34.
So Bryce Harper apparently reported to camp in Viera on Friday, but immediately headed to Columbia, South Carolina for the weekend to watch his older brother Bryan pitch for the defending NCAA champion Gamecocks. On Saturday, Harper took batting practice with the Cocks (see screengrab of above Tweet), and apparently put on a show. We're still scouring the internet at this hour for video evidence.
John Whittle writes for TheBigSpur.com (an independent site dedicated to Gamecocks sports) and was on the scene. He described the scene for us via email:
I only saw him take two rounds in the cages of about eight swings apiece. Gates were just opened, he was hitting mainly for an audience of just South Carolina and Santa Clara players, but it was pretty clear he was swinging out of his shoes just trying to hit tanks. He hit some blasts. He hit two onto the road in right field that almost nailed passing cars. Shots that distance are 425-plus. He sat a couple rows above the USC dugout both games. I talked to a few of the players who said he acted just like your average ball player. He joined in picking up the baseballs that were in the batting shell and was joking around just like one of the guys. He was with both of his parents for the games.
Should be a similar scene in Viera by Tuesday. And we're glad to hear Harper was on the USC campus with his parents for the weekend. No good can come of 18 year old Bryce Harper getting the college experience on his own the weekend before his first pro camp.