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Phillies news and rumors 7/9: Brandon Marsh talks Bryce Harper, recalls first conversation with him

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Brandon Marsh was acquired by the Phillies via trade on Aug. 2, 2022. (Grace Del Pizzo/Phillies Nation)

Acquired by the Phillies at the 2022 trade deadline, Brandon Marsh has now spent nearly two years in Philadelphia. During that time, he’s gone from a relatively unknown player to one numerous fans have fallen in love with.

From the wetting of his hair, to the barking, to the overall vibes and excitement he brings with him to the ballpark every day, Marsh is a fan favorite in Philadelphia.

In a recent appearance on “The Chris Rose Rotation” podcast, the 26-year-old talked about a lot of different topics. He discussed growing up in the Atlanta area, playing football, rooting for the Falcons and Braves as a kid, living with teammate Alec Bohm, his sister’s success as a track and field athlete and much more.

But perhaps the most interesting topic Marsh opened up about with Rose was in regards to Bryce Harper — a player Marsh said he looked up to when he was a kid.

Marsh started off talking about the two-time NL MVP by giving him credit for living up to the hype that’s always surrounded Harper, “He’s been the face of baseball since as far as I’ve known baseball and he’s exceeded every expectation. I mean, dude’s won [National League] Player of the Month back-to-back. You don’t really see that often. Playing in the division we play in, playing against the arms we have to see and he just shows up and shows out every single night. Off the field, you got the whole city riding behind him. It feels like he’s the leader of all of Philadelphia. We ride with three, that’s our guy.”

Marsh continued: “When you talk about Bryce, you get speechless sometimes just because of [what] he’s able to do… on the biggest stage every single night. Just when you think that you got a guy that can get him [out], he puts one in the third deck. And it’s just like, ‘Okay, well what are we doing? How do we throw to this guy? You kind of just hope he gets himself out.'”

Growing up playing or paying attention to the sport of baseball in the late 2000s and 2010s, it was hard to not know who Harper was. He was everywhere. From the cover of Sports Illustrated to being talked about on television. If you paid attention to the game, you likely heard about this kid from Las Vegas who was baseball’s next generational talent.

Not only did Marsh know who Harper was, but he also looked up to him, “Bryce is as good as it gets. He’s a phenomenal dude to look up to. And in my position… a right-handed thrower and left-handed bat… I’ve looked up to Bryce ever since I was a kid. Him being on Sports Illustrated and ESPN and I’m a little kid just starting baseball and I’m like, ‘I want to be just like that guy.'”

Now that he’s on the same team as Harper, Marsh talked about what that’s like by saying, “It’s so surreal… I’m just so happy he’s a Phil and I’m a Phil.”

Rose went on to ask Marsh what it was like when he was all of a sudden playing with one of his heroes back in August of 2022. Does Marsh remember the first conversation he had with Harper?

Marsh answered, “I remember him and [Kyle] Schwarber coming up to me the first day I got there… I don’t know much about Philadelphia. I grew up in Atlanta, knew they were in the NL East and that was about it.”

“Harper and Schwarber just kind of put their arm around me the second I got in that locker room that day and were like, ‘Hey kid, I know we don’t know much about each other, but we’re in a tight pennant race here, so you just gotta get in or get out.’ In an encouraging way, you know? It’s like, ‘We’re gonna be here every step of the way. We’ll be here for you to help you. If you need anything, you come to us, let us know, but we’re gonna need you to get to where we wanna get to.'”

Marsh added: “Hearing stuff like that from those guys, it just hit deeper and I was like, ‘Okay they got my back, it’s time to go ride out there with them.'”

Marsh has been part of and witnessed a lot of cool moments in his relatively short time in Philadelphia. He’s played, and homered, against his hometown team in the playoffs. He helped win a National League pennant in 2022 and homered in Game 3 of the World Series that year.

But the first conversation he had with Harper and Schwarber is one of his favorite moments as a Phillie, “That moment was probably one of my favorite moments since coming over here and there’s been a lot of cool moments,” Marsh said. “But not knowing them personally and them coming over there and doing that to me and taking all the pressure [and] anxiety away. It was my first time being traded. My only time being traded. And going to an organization, you kind of want to be like Superman to let them know they won the trade. But they kind of brought me back down to Earth and were like ‘Hey man, we need you to get on first base and we need you to catch every ball out in center field and we’ll be just fine.’ And I said ‘Oh, I can do that for you. Let’s go.'”

Ever since that conversation, Marsh hasn’t just become a fan favorite, but an important member of the Phillies. In 243 games for the club, Marsh has hit .275/.355/.433 with 22 home runs. According to FanGraphs, he’s been worth 5.8 wins above replacement in those 243 games.

This year, Marsh is batting .261/.344/.408 with seven homers across 250 plate appearances. As a defender, he’s been well above average. According to FanGraphs, Marsh has 10 defensive runs saved this season in 542 defensive innings in the outfield. That’s third-most among qualified outfielders. He’s also posted 1 out above average. In both of those metrics, 0 is the mark of a league-average defender.

Marsh has played well in Philadelphia. And, according to him, the success he and his team have had over the last two years starts at the top with guys like Harper and Schwarber, “This team, it’s just special. Those guys, the leaders up at the top, they bleed down into us, into the daycare.”

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