Bryce Harper, the star free agent outfielder, has only been with the Philadelphia Phillies for a couple of weeks, and with spring training underway in Florida, he hasn’t even made it to Philadelphia yet.
But that hasn’t stopped Harper from getting to know the city’s institutions, and one of them is the long-running sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Harper and one of the show’s stars and co-creators spent much of the day Monday tweeting at each other.
It all started Monday morning when the Phillies’ official account tweeted a picture of Harper in front of a stadium outfield sign, in which his head was directly in front of the sun. The caption was a nod to a famous musical episode of Always Sunny, “Dayman Fighter of the Nightman Champion of the Sun.”
A few hours later, Rob McElhenney, who plays Mac on Always Sunny and co-created the series, tweeted at him, “Hey Bryce- i feel like i can call you Bryce because we are so much alike. Wanna have a catch?”
This tweet also was a reference to a past episode of the series- in which Mac wrote a letter to a Phillies star player at the time, Chase Utley. Utley, on an MLB Fan Cave video five years later, responded to Mac.
Harper responded to the tweet much more quickly than Utley did, writing to McElhenney, “You sure can call me Bryce. I bet this will be a real ‘grand slam’ of a friendship. Let’s have a catch sometime this summer at the Bank!
#PhillyLoaded.” McElhenney later tweeted at Mike Trout, the future free agent who Harper has been openly trying to recruit to the Phillies, to ask if he “wants in on this,” and added that he’ll see Trout in 2020 when the Angels outfielder and New Jersey native is scheduled to reach free agency.
Fighter of the Nightman
Champion of the Sun pic.twitter.com/d1Ij6h1feW
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) March 11, 2019
To give an indication of just how long It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has been on the air, the episode with Mac’s letter to Utley aired more than 10 years ago, at a time when the show was just beginning to make it a running gag that Mac was a closeted homosexual. The character finally came out as gay in the show’s 12th season.
It also puts perspective on how long Harper has signed with the Phillies. He got a 13-year deal, which is exactly how many seasons It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has aired to date.