‘It was a great moment’: Braves’ Michael Harris cherishes first MLB home run

WASHINGTON — As a kid, Michael Harris, a huge Braves fan, watched games and envisioned himself stepping into the batter’s box in the biggest moments. Whether it be in extra innings or in the bottom of the ninth, he imagined hitting a walk-off home run, moving a runner over or doing something else to help his team win in that massive spot.

But doing it in real life?

Harris’ smile told it all: This moment – his first MLB home run – meant so much to him.

“Actually hitting a home run in the majors,” he said, “is kind of crazy.”

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In the top of the eighth inning, Harris, a Stockbridge High alum, hit a 388-foot, opposite-field home run off Kyle Finnegan that gave the Braves a four-run lead against the Nationals, a game they went on to win 9-5. Harris trotted around the bases for the first time as a big leaguer, then entered the dugout.

Instead of giving him the silent treatment, as is often the case when someone hits his first career home run, the rest of the Braves greeted Harris and congratulated him. Soon, Braves fans made themselves known behind the visiting dugout.

Michael! Michael! Michael!

Then, Harris exited the dugout for the curtain call, which drew more cheers from the Braves faithful at Nationals Park.

“It was a great moment,” Harris said. “I didn’t expect it to be here, but getting it out of the way was a good feeling.”

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After Harris hit the home run, which landed in the Braves’ bullpen, Dansby Swanson joked and told him: “Anybody can hit one.”

To that, Harris said: “Hopefully I can do it more than once and live up with that. I’m just going to go out there and be me, and if it happens, it happens.”

All game, Harris said, a fan in center field heckled him. “Twenty-three, you (expletive)!” the fan continued shouting. This made the home run even sweeter.

“I just held it in,” Harris said, “and did what I did.”

Over 58 at-bats through Monday, Harris is hitting .293 with a .783 OPS. He has collected his first career hit, RBI, triple and home run. He already has five doubles. On defense, Harris has made several incredible catches. He possesses jaw-dropping range and athletic ability.

He has strengthened the Braves’ batting order and their outfield defense. He is a potential five-tool player at this level, someone who could be in the club’s outfield for a long, long time.

“It was a great moment. I didn't expect it to be here, but getting it out of the way was a good feeling."

- Michael Harris, after hitting his first MLB home Monday at Nationals Park

“He’s a tremendous talent,” Swanson said. “He’s such a joy to be around. He’s a great teammate, great kid. He soaks up a lot of things and goes out and competes every night. Obviously he’s been such a huge boost.”

Harris has his home run ball. He plans to put it with the rest of his special mementos: the baseballs from his first hit, first RBI and first triple, as well as his jersey from his debut.

“Eventually when I get my house,” he said, “I’ll have it hanging up in my man cave or something.”