DC Sports Day

Harper Is Looking Forward To Next Year

04/30/15  Washington Nationals vs New York Mets  at  Citifield  ,Queens   N.Y.     Washington Nationals  lead   8-2   during  the  9th  inning  Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper #34 hits a   3 rbi  double in the  9th  inning  photos  by  Sportsdaywire

(Nail Miller/Sportsday Wire)

After winning the National League Most Valuable Player award, Bryce Harper spoke to reporters in Washington about how much his teammates helped him during the 2015 season.

And now he’s looking forward to 2016 under new manager Dusty Baker.

“Definitely very excited to be a part of the Nationals organization,” Harper said, as quoted in the Washington Post. “Being able to play in that stadium, being able to play for this city, this town, being around this city — it’s such a great place to play, it’s a monumental town, everything happens there, and I think baseball is up-and-coming. I think the things we’ve done the last couple years have been a lot of fun for us.

“I think as a team, as an organization we’ve grown into an elite team and I think we’re just going to keep getting better and better. Mike Rizzo’s done a great job with this team, and the hiring of Dusty Baker — I mean it’s going to help put us over the top. So definitely excited about the up-and-coming years and very excited to further my career as a National. But I have a couple more years in D.C. and hopefully at the end of that, we can do what we can and maybe be a National for life, we’ll see.”

Sure but 2016 is around the corner and Harper is ready to turn the corner after the disappointing finish, losing the division to the New York Mets, who went on to the National League pennant.

Harper sees a core in the Nationals clubhouse, all of whom he said helped him.

“Start with Ian Desmond,” he told reporters on a conference call. “I know this guy’s not in our clubhouse at this moment, but just not taking the game so serious, doing everything I can on a daily basis to have fun and enjoy it — enjoy the time that I play.

“He’s such a great teammate. He’s such a great person on and off the field, has a great family, and I enjoy playing side-by-side with him every single night. At the end of the day, whether you’re 0 for 4 or 4 for 4, you have to have the same mentality coming into that next day. And that’s what I tried to do the whole year this year. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to help my team win on a daily basis, and that’s all I wanted to do.

“I respect Desi more than anybody. This guy is somebody that I truly look up to as a person, and I can’t thank him enough for everything he did for me this year.”

And then there’s Jayson Werth, who he views like a brother.

“He’s definitely family,” Harper said. “I can’t thank him enough for taking me under his wing at the age of 19 and doing everything he could. He’s somebody that I truly love playing with and I’m very excited to be able to get back with him next year and the next couple years. He’s taught me so much about how to approach the game, how to win ballgames, how to play in the postseason, how to play the game the right way every single day. The guy’s been around the game for a long, long time, and I can’t thank him enough for everything he does, if that’s taking me out to dinner, if that’s hanging out with me in the clubhouse or telling me what a pitcher’s doing, his tendencies, all around the game. He knows it. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Next year is right around the corner and Harper seems to be ready to defend his MVP title.