Bryce Harper must not subscribe to the Hakuna Matata philosophy.
Instead of choosing to have no worries for the rest of his days, as the “Lion King” recommends, Harper let a fan irritate him Friday as he and the Phillies stood in the visitor’s dugout in Atlanta.
Twitter user @LeGates23 posted a video Friday of himself yelling, “Bryce, you’ll never be as good as Acuna. As hard as you try, you’ll never be as good as him.”
Except @LeGates23, whose real name is not known, butchered the pronunciation of Ronald Acuña Jr., the Braves star outfielder.
The video shows Harper turn around to correct the pronunciation, as lip-reading sleuths pointed out him responding, “It’s ah-CUHN-ya” as he makes a hand gesture to show where the tilde belongs.
Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto was standing next to Harper and cracked a smile at the sort of strange interaction that was missing from stadiums everywhere when the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were at their tightest.
@LeGates23 seems to be enjoying the attention and backlash. Here’s a sampling of his Tweets in the last 12 hours:
“Lol y’all mad at me for pronouncing a name wrong, but yet a professional player focused on a trolling fan instead of the game he was losing….. YALL FOLKS FUNNY & THANKS FOR BLOWING THE VIDEO UP!!!”
“Y’all notice how he “corrected” how I said his name…. not that he was better.”
“I was NEVER good in Spanish class…. teacher used to anyways tell me “mas or menos” after I answered my questions. Oh well, come se dice “I love @ronaldacunajr24.”
“I CALL HIM RAJ!!!!!!”
It’s usually not a good idea for athletes to let hecklers get under their skin, but let’s call this one a draw. Credit Harper for the creative comeback because fans should know how to pronounce the names of players on their favorite team, but Harper was 0-for-2 so maybe the fan distracted the slugger just enough to help the Braves to an 8-1 win.