Athletes find any source of motivation or bulletin board material they can in order to will themselves through seemingly insurmountable adversity. While there were many people who doubted the Arizona Diamondbacks’ National League Championship Series’ chances, it might have been an opponent who motivated Geraldo Perdomo most of all.
The All-Star shortstop did not take kindly to how Bryce Harper allegedly treated Phoenix Suns stars Kevin Durant and Devin Booker in Game 5 at Chase Field. The Philadelphia Phillies slugger blasted a 444-foot home run in the sixth inning of a 6-1 Philly victory and was accused by some of directing his now famous death glare at Durant and Booker.
Those who have been following the 2023 MLB playoffs closely will recall that Harper did the same thing to Orlando Arcia after it leaked out that the Atlanta Braves shortstop was having fun at the two-time MVP’s expense in the clubhouse. This time, it was Perdomo who was being fueled by a perceived slight.
“When he was running the bases, he looked at them like he did Arcia,” he told Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. “I say, ‘Why is this guy doing this?’ I took it personal. That really got me motivated.”
Did Bryce Harper ironically fire up Diamondbacks in NLCS?
If the staredown did happen, Bryce Harper might have gone just a tad far, at least in the eyes of Perdomo. It is dangerous to galvanize an entire fan base and team. Harper knows that as well as anyone. What might be intended as good ole’ fashioned gamesmanship could be interpreted in a starkly different manner.
“Like, they were there to support us. So why do you have to look at those guys like that?” Perdomo said. “They don’t play baseball, they play basketball. So that’s why I took it so personal, and said, ‘Hey, we got to win this for the city.”‘
Geraldo Perdomo, who floundered in the second half of the regular season, awakened in the later stages of the NLCS. He had two hits each in the final three games and scored twice, all from the No. 9 slot in the lineup.
The Dominican Republic native exemplified the same level of determination that catapulted the 84-win Diamondbacks all the way to the World Series. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker apparently gave them even more.