Bryce Harper Concedes

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Delivering the concession speech.

Just a few hours ago, Bryce Harper lost the election to the final spot on the 2012 NL All-Star team. Many who put a great deal of work into campaigning for Bryce surely feel hurt at this time. But Bryce is a gracious loser, who has accepted the fact that David Freese won the vote. Below is the concession speech that Bryce delivered just moments ago.

Good evening,

Just moments ago, I spoke with David Freese and congratulated him on becoming the 34th member of the NL All-Star team. And I promised him that I wouldn’t call him back this time. I offered to meet with him as soon as possible so that we can start to heal the divisions of the campaign and the contest through which we’ve just passed.

Almost a year ago, National Michael Morse told Shane Victorino, who had just defeated him for the final spot, “Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism for the National League. I’m with you, Mr. All-Star, and God bless you.” Of course, Victorino being a Phillie, Morse was clearly lying, but that’s besides the point. Well, in that same spirit, I say to All-Star-elect Freese that what remains of partisan rancor must now be put aside, and may God bless his stewardship of this league. Neither he nor I anticipated this long and difficult road. Certainly neither of us wanted it to happen. Yet it came, and now it has ended, resolved, as it must be resolved, through the honored institutions of our democracy on MLB.com and Twitter.

Over the library of one of our great law schools is inscribed the motto, “Not under man but under God and law.” That’s the ruling principle of National League freedom, the source of our democratic liberties. I’ve tried to make it my guide throughout this contest, as it has guided America’s deliberations of all the complex issues of the past five days.

Now the Twitterverse has spoken. Let there be no doubt, while I strongly disagree with the tweeters’ decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome which will be ratified next Monday in the All-Star workout day. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession. I also accept my responsibility, which I will discharge unconditionally, to honor the new All-Star-elect and do everything possible to help him bring National League fans together in fulfillment of the great vision that our CBA defines and that our OBR affirms and defends.

Let me say how grateful I am to all those who supported me and supported the cause for which we have fought. Davey and I feel a deep gratitude to Ryan and Stephen, who brought passion and high purpose to our partnership and opened new doors, not just for our campaign but for our league.

This has been an extraordinary election. But in one of God’s unforeseen paths, this belatedly broken impasse can point us all to a new common ground, for its very closeness can serve to remind us that we are one league with a shared history and a shared destiny. Indeed, that history gives us many examples of contests as hotly debated, as fiercely fought, with their own challenges to the popular will. Other disputes have dragged on for weeks before reaching resolution. And each time, both the victor and the vanquished have accepted the result peacefully and in a spirit of reconciliation.

So let it be with us.

I know that many of my supporters are disappointed. I am too. But our disappointment must be overcome by our love of baseball.

And I say to our fellow members of the world community, let no one see this contest as a sign of National League weakness. The strength of National League democracy is shown most clearly through the difficulties it can overcome. Some have expressed concern that the unusual nature of this election might hamper the next All-Star in the conduct of his office. I do not believe it need be so.

All-Star-elect Freese inherits a team whose fans will be ready to assist him in the conduct of his large responsibilities. I, personally, will be at his disposal, and I call on all baseball fans — I particularly urge all who stood with us — to unite behind our next All-Star. This is baseball. Just as we fight hard when the stakes are high, we close ranks and come together when the contest is done. And while there will be time enough to debate our continuing differences, now is the time to recognize that that which unites us is greater than that which divides us. While we yet hold and do not yield our opposing beliefs, there is a higher duty than the one we owe to a team. This is baseball and we put league before team; we will stand together behind our new All-Star.

As for what I’ll do next, I don’t know the answer to that one yet. Like many of you, I’m looking forward to spending the break with family and old friends. I know I’ll spend time in Nevada and mend some fences, literally and figuratively.

Some have asked whether I have any regrets, and I do have one regret: that I didn’t get the chance to stay and fight for the National League over the next week, especially for those fans who need burdens lifted and barriers removed, especially for those fans who feel their voices have not been heard. I heard you. And I will not forget.

I’ve seen baseball in this campaign, and I like what I see. It’s worth fighting for and that’s a fight I’ll never stop. As for the battle that ends today, I do believe, as Al Gore’s father once said, that “No matter how hard the loss, defeat might serve as well as victory to shape the soul and let the glory out.”

So for me this campaign ends as it began: with the love of Natstown and our team; with faith in God and in the league I have been so proud to serve, from Hagerstown to the major leagues; and with gratitude to our truly tireless campaign staff and volunteers, including all those who worked so hard on Twitter for the last 4 days.

Now the political struggle is over and we turn again to the unending struggle for the common good of all baseball fans and for those multitudes around the world who look to us for leadership in the cause of World Series home field advantage.

In the words of our great hymn, “Baseball, Baseball”: “Let us crown thy good with an All-Star nod, from sea to shining sea.”

And now, my friends, in a phrase I once addressed to others: it’s time for me to go kick the shit out of the Giants.

Thank you, and good night, and God bless the National League.

Touching. I have never heard a concession speech quite like this.

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