WASHINGTON — The weather truly fit the scene for Bryce Harper’s return to Nationals Park. The rain washed away, and the cloudy skies cleared up, but the mood of Nationals’ fans stayed the same — including mine.As soon as I stepped foot on South Capitol Street that runs adjacent to Nationals Park, I could feel the energy and hatred toward Bryce Harper in the air. People walked around with Harper jerseys with his name crossed out on the back and spelled out “traitor.” The rain trickled down before the gates to the park opened, and while people waited to get inside I overheard some saying that the jerseys should be burned. Meanwhile, Phillies fans waited outside the gates with nothing but smiles and a feeling of power. If you would have told me 5 years ago I would be walking into Nationals Park as an opposing player, I would’ve told you that you were crazy. Five years later, I’m doing just that. I remember the first day I walked into Nats Park. My first base hit. My first home run. And, of course, my first standing ovation. Nationals fans delivered that first ovation. The things that I will miss most are the relationships I gained on a personal level with so many of the Nationals staff and workers around the ballpark. Every day I walked in, I got a smile or shared a laugh with you. I especially want to thank The Lerner Family and Mike Rizzo for the unwavering support they showed me during my tenure in DC. The city of DC was home. Filomena’s, The Silver Diner, The Italian store, and countless other places helped make it feel like home. You, Nationals fans, made me one of your own for the entire time I was a part of the Nationals organization. I’m so blessed to have been able to play for a fan base that cared so much about our team each and every night. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter what. I look forward to continuing Harpers Heroes with LLS in the DMV as well as making sure the legacy fields bearing my name are the best youth fields in town! When I run on the field tonight I am sure to hear some boos, but I will always remember the cheers and the screams that are still with me right now, as I start my new chapter. So for that, DC, THANK YOU.A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bryceharper3) on Apr 2, 2019 at 7:05am PDTGrowing up as a Nationals fan, Harper was the guy — the player who gave us hope for a brighter future and World Series titles. But all that came crashing down after he went quiet for months, then signed with division rival the Phillies for 13 years $330 million — after he was initially offered 10 years and $300 million from the Nats last year. The Nationals fell to the Phillies 8-2 in Bryce’s return to D.C., sure it sucked, but it was also a relief to get that first game out of the way. From now on whenever the two play, it will just be the Nationals against the Phillies. Blair Berry is a Sporting News intern and a native of the Washington, D.C., area. View this post on Instagram I knew Harper’s return to the nation’s capital would be something iconic, but I never knew just how much until I experienced it up close.MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNThe @Nationals pay tribute to @bryceharper3, but fans did not give him a warm welcome. pic.twitter.com/YCqCCdYQsX— Blair Berry (@BlairB3rry) April 2, 2019I felt conflicted as I saw Harper in another jersey for the first time. Someone who was once my favorite player left for a contract that I don’t necessarily think was better, but I was happy to see him return to a ball park I was so familiar with seeing him play in. As fans bood loudly and shouted “traitor,” part of me wanted to boo him, too. But at the same time, I still felt the love I once had for him less than a year ago.During Harper’s time in Washington, it didn’t matter whether it was a good season or bad season for the Nationals, there was always that anticipation that the team could make a run because he was on the team. He was a hero in the city, and whenever he stepped up to the plate you felt that heroism in the atmosphere not only in the ballpark but throughout D.C. As his contract with Washington faded away he seemed to get further and further away from remaining a National. Fans suspected he would leave, including me, but I never would have thought he’d step foot in enemy territory and move on to the Phillies. Anyone but the Phillies. It was almost like a sense of betrayal. Because of that, when Harper struck out in his first at-bat against Max Scherzer, the moment could’ve have been any better. The roars from the crowd, the hard claps and high-pitched whistles made it hard for me to hear myself think. I was ecstatic that Harper not only struck out but struck out swinging, and that it was Mad Max who did the deed. I felt a sense of relief that he got out, but part of me also felt bad for Harper as he left the field with his head down and the cheers that sounded throughout the crowd. Emotions are weird.