HARRISBURG -- A Bryce Harper fan from Chambersburg has had a few choice words thrown his way.
And it's all over a baseball.
Brian McGinn asked Bryce Harper to sign his prized Mickey Mantle autographed baseball last summer before a Harrisburg Senators game at Metro Bank Park. "I thought maybe something like this would get his attention, considering its his favorite player," said McGinn, who calls himself a big Harper fan.
Harper's idol in Mantle. He wears number 34 because three plus four equals seven; which was Mantle's number.
McGinn and his brother Ben brought the ball to a Senators game last July; and McGinn's brother videotaped the whole trip, later posting the video on YouTube. He waited while Harper signed autographs along the rightfield line and finally caught the phenom's attention. "I held it out for him, so he could see it," recalled Brian. "I said, 'I have a Mickey Mantle baseball, Bryce.'
"I kept yelling it."
And Harper came over and signed it.
"My brother was ecstatic," said Ben. "He was like a little kid."
Many baseball fans and memorabilia collectors were not amused. They bombed McGinn's YouTube video, calling Brian 'stupid,' 'crazy' and 'dumb' for having Harper sign the ball -- and those were some of the nicest comments.
Fans at Metro Bank Park mostly feel the same way. One said that he would have preferred having the signatures on two separate baseballs; while another believes its a disgrace to have Harper share a ball with Mantle.
What did Bryce think?
He actually remembered signing the ball, when asked by our sister station WSYR-TV in Syracuse.
"When a guy comes up to you with a Mickey Mantle ball, I don't think it's the smartest thing for me to sign it," joked Harper in April, before being recalled to the major leagues. "I don't know if (the Mantle signature) was real or not, but that's pretty cool.
"I was really excited about it."
Brian McGinn claims the Mantle signature is real and he has no regrets having Harper sign the ball, considering how successful Harper has been since being recalled to the majors. Harper is hitting .303 with seven home runs and 19 RBI in his first 40 games.
McGinn doesn't plan on selling the ball, either.
"I just think it's something unique," he said. "I'm definitely going to put it in my collection; (its) probably the number-one piece I have.
"I'll just enjoy it."