Bryce Harper's 1st Triple-A HR Landing Spot
SYRACUSE - There is a little marsh about 50 feet beyond the right field fence of Alliance Bank Stadium.
It is filled with reeds that snap under your feet.
A bullfrog, upset that it is in the mid-40s in mid-April, croaks a protest, but gives way to a trespasser in his front yard.
There was a scuffed up International League baseball there. It must have hit the pavement that serves as a maintenance road after it left Bryce Harper’s bat seconds before.
"I was finally on time for something," Harper said about the swing.
Harper hit his first Triple-A home run in his 61st at-bat in the fourth inning of a 6-1 Syracuse loss to Buffalo on April 22. The Chiefs came back to win the seven-inning nightcap, 1-0.
"No, I just got a pitch I could drive," Harper said about if he felt relief after getting the first homer. "I was facing a good guy and I was just trying to put something in play to do something to get going."
With one swing, there had to be an audible sigh of relief in Washington and the smell of burning talk radio lines. Harper didn’t think anything of it as he circled the bases for the first time this season.
"I was just trying to get around the bases," he said. "I was just trying to drive the ball. Thankfully, it just kept on going and went out."
It kept going to the tune of 400 feet, at least. Not the 19-year old’s most impressive shot ever, but the first here when he is a step away from The Show.
The homer was the prospect’s second RBI of the season, his fifth run scored, and his sixth extra-base hit out of his 15-for-64 start. Syracuse is 4-13 to start, but goes into its only April off day on a win that ended a six-game losing streak.
"We have a great ball club. We aren’t catching breaks as much as we would like right now, but we have a great lineup 1 thru 9 and everyone can swing it," Harper said over the thumping stereo in the clubhouse.
Tyler Moore leads the organization in home runs with six already. Corey Brown’s second dinger of the season was the only run in the second game of the twin bill. Middle infielder Seth Bynum has twice as many bombs as Harper thus far.
"We came into this year with high hopes. I think we are going to win. I think we can turn it around quick," Harper said. "We are only 17 games in. We are going to get going."
"There have been a couple of games where we lost by one or two or in the last inning. We hope that this is the start of a streak," he continued.
Harperpalooza hits the road for the second time this season on Tuesday in Rochester as the Chiefs try to put together that first winning streak of 2012.
There is a pavilion and some trees beyond the right field fence at Frontier Field.
There might be a bullfrog there too.