Bryce Harper walking right into the Philadelphia cauldron


This was before a Game 7 many years ago, back when Eric Lindros was one of the bold-faced names in all of sports. Lindros’ Flyers were a day away from hosting the Devils for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup final, and Philadelphia was electric with anticipation.Someone asked Lindros, “If you win, you’ll be a king around here.”

Lindros, by then 500 games into his career, a Hart Trophy already on his mantel, smiled and said, “For the weekend, at least.”

We like to think we’re a tough room in New York. But years later, when Lindros was playing for the Rangers, Lindros said, “They get on you here, sure, but they also appreciate your body of work. You don’t have to dance for your dinner every shift, the way you have to in other cities.”

He didn’t mention the city in question. He didn’t have to.

This is what Bryce Harper has jumped into. On the one hand, he has been playing in the NL East for years, he’s played either nine or 10 games in each of those years at Citizens Bank Park, he has heard what a Philly crowd can be about. He’s been lustily booed for most of his appearances there.

But there is a difference between being booed as a visitor and being booed as a member of the home team. And Philly, more than any sports city in America, prides itself on holding its own athletes to a high standard. Almost every Philadelphia star has been forced to endure a hazing or heckling at one time or another.This is where, according to legend, Santa Claus was booed by Eagles fans.