Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by Matt Musico
When it comes to baseball in October, every single moment is magnified. Every pitch, every swing, and every conversation. There was one thing many wondered about during Game 3 of the 2022 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros. What did Bryce Harper say to Alec Bohm?
We may never know for sure. At least, we won’t know until those players’ careers are over and they’re officially retired. But we can still venture a guess based on the situation and what some baseball insiders have shared since it happened.
The Astros eventually won their second World Series title in six years after defeating the Phillies in six games. But after Game 3, Philly was in the driver’s seat. They just completed a powerful 7-0 victory at Citizens Bank Park. That gave them a 2-1 series lead and a chance to clinch in front of the home crowd.
Harper’s blast was a two-run shot in the first inning to get the Phillies immediately on the board. Bohm’s blast came in the following frame. While preparing in the on-deck circle, Harper called him over to whisper a sweet nothing into his ear:
Here's Bryce Harper after his home run in the first, calling Alec Bohm over to, presumably, tell him something to look for.
Whatever it was, it worked. pic.twitter.com/LXN6yQBCYt
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) November 2, 2022
It obviously wasn’t a sweet nothing, because this is what Bohm did with the first offering from Lance McCullers Jr.:
First-pitch Bohm bomb 💣
📺: FOX and the FOX Sports App pic.twitter.com/VhFmpUUdwN
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 2, 2022
This feels like the equivalent of the Looney Tunes getting a hold of Michael Jordan’s “Secret Stuff” in the first Space Jam, isn’t it? Harper — a two-time MVP and seven-time All-Star — has been among the game’s best players since debuting in 2012 as a 19-year-old. Bohm found his way onto league-wide top prospect lists before his own debut, but he didn’t arrive with nearly as much fanfare.
The 26-year-old had mostly struggled in the postseason leading up to the Fall Classic, as well. After collecting a pair of doubles in the Wild Card Round, Bohm’s OPS settled in at .258 and .458 during the NLDS and NLCS, respectively.
But in the World Series, he finished with a .286/.348/.524 line in 23 plate appearances. This was his first (and for now, only) postseason home run. So, what exactly did Harper say to Bohm before he went deep?
He was asked that question multiple times after the victory. His first response was, “That’s between us.” When asked again, Harper responded with, “Nothing.” Finally, he provided these thoughts (probably with hopes he’d stop getting asked):
I think anytime you have information, you want to be able to give that to your teammates at any point. So anytime I can help my teammates. Throughout the whole season we’ve done that. And, um, yeah.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported it likely had something to do with McCullers’ pitch selection:
Rival staffer: what Harper related to Bohm, others had to have been about game-planning, not pitch-tipping. Says staffer: “He’s throwing 80% off-speed. He won’t throw his fastball.”
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 2, 2022
There was also a thought that the hurler was tipping his pitches early in the game. What Harper said to Bohm could’ve been anything. It could’ve been what Olney suggested, something he saw in McCullers’ delivery, a combination of the two, or something completely different.
Only a select few know and will continue to know for quite a while. All we know for now is it worked. Phillies players are already aware of this, but the lesson learned is clear: if Harper has something to say to you, it’s time to listen. It might just lead to a dinger.