Phillies star Bryce Harper channels English footballers as he celebrates homer in London Series

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LONDON — Bryce Harper understood the assignment. With Major League Baseball in London as part of its effort to grow the game’s reach overseas, the Philadelphia Phillies superstar obliged with a home run celebration fitting for the venue.

Harper smashed a solo shot in the fourth inning — striking an equalizer against the New York Mets — with the ball landing in the Billy Bonds Stand. After rounding the bases before a lively crowd at London Stadium, the home field of the English Premier League’s West Ham United, Harper jogged toward the dugout and channeled Jarrod Bowen, celebrating as if he had just scored a goal.

“It’s always on in our clubhouse,” Harper said the day before, and soon he showed that he is indeed no stranger to the Premier League. Harper entered into a slide on his knees, his arms outstretched, his chest puffed out. “Let’s go!” he screamed.

Hot mics later caught Harper yelling in the Phillies dugout: “I love soccer,” he proclaimed, the moment apparently getting the best of him.

Just a day before, Harper took care not to say soccer, the American word for what is known everywhere else as football.

“I don’t want to say soccer, I’ll feel bad,” he said. “What an incredible sport. My wife grew up playing it through college and was pretty good at it. So just being able to watch it when it’s on. The Premier League’s all over our TV in the States as well. So it’s pretty cool to watch Jack Grealish. I love his hair. He’s got a really good mop, man.”

Of course, Harper’s mop got plenty of screen time in the dugout, especially as Philadelphia opened a 6-1 lead. The Phillies spent the fourth inning making apparent to even the untrained eye which team is on the rise in National League, and which team proved capable of stinking on two continents. Harper’s 15th home run of the season triggered a six-run inning for the Phillies, who batted around while chasing Mets lefty Sean Manaea from the game.

Harper also singled and doubled, but struck out in the seventh inning when he came to bat needing a triple for the cycle.

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(Photo: Mary DeCicco / MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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