The Harper brothers have great hair.

They have that in common. They are different players in different places in their careers at different positions, but minutes after his first workout with the Auburn Doubledays, Bryan Harper came out of the locker room and his hair was already perfectly placed.

His younger brother, the Washington Nationals’ 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper, has had some wild do’s already this season in Triple-A Syracuse and in the majors.

“We like our hair,” Bryan Harper said over his shoulder after he revealed the origin of his brother’s famed response to a - lets just say - silly question: “That is a clown question, bro.”

Getting to know the older bro

“I am a competitor,” Bryan Harper said right away.

The elder Harper was drafted three times, twice by Washington, before getting on board with the Nationals last year.

In 2008, Washington picked him in the 31st round. He didn’t sign and went to junior college. He was picked by the Cubs in the 27th round in 2010 while Bryce went No. 1 overall to Washington.

Bryan chose to go back to school again, pitched in relief for South Carolina, made the Southeastern Conference’s Academic Honor Roll, and was picked by the Nationals again in 2011 in the 30th round. He signed on Aug. 15 and played in two Gulf Coast League games as he worked through some minor health issues and fatigue.

The older Harper brother is in Auburn this season, in the Nationals chain, while his younger plays with the big league club. They have a common goal despite being at different points of achieving it.

“It is awesome,” Bryan Harper said about starting his own journey to the majors. “This is a lifelong dream that I have always had. Finally getting into some games that actually count is going to be fun. We are looking forward to it.”

Bro to a bro

It must be tiresome for Bryan Harper, a left-handed pitcher, to keep fielding questions about his younger brother.

Once, Bryce Harper was “Bryan Harper’s brother.” Now, it is the other way around.

The Harper in Auburn is always in touch with the one in Washington, though. They are both the sons of Ron and Sheri Harper. Bryan was born in 1989. Bryce was born in 1992. Sister Brittany was born in-between.

“We talk as much as we can. When I was in Florida we were on different schedules, but hopefully now we get to talk a little bit more,” Bryan Harper said, referring to the Doubledays schedule that runs similar to that of the Nats'. “Whenever I get a chance I always send him a text early in the morning. That way he wakes up to it.”

An older brother still looking out for the younger.

Bryce Harper is going on his third year in the Nationals organization and is taking care of Bryan too.

“He has been able to show me the ropes a little bit,” Bryan said with a laugh and a hand through his hair. “He has been able to take me under his wing and show me the way. Like I have always done being the older brother.”

They have that in common. Along with how they approach the same game.

“We compete everyday. That is one thing you will always find with the Harper name,” Bryan Harper said. “We are competitors and we are going to work our butts off to get out there and help the team win.”

The origin of “That is a clown question, bro,” revealed

After hitting a monster home run in Toronto earlier this week during a successful Nationals’ road trip, Bryce Harper was asked a question.

A Canadian reporter asked him, since the legal drinking age in Ontario is 19, if the 19-year-old was going for a celebratory beer. And what kind of beer it would be.

A Nationals public relations person tried to head off a potentially damaging answer.

Bryce Harper looked at the reporter and gave an all-time one liner.

“That is a clown question, bro.”

“I thought it was great,” Bryan said.

The snappy retort is already on T-Shirts and getting references on the late night talk show circuit.

“That is actually from one of my good friends,” Bryan Harper said referring to Donn Roach, a friend from the Harper’s hometown of Las Vegas. Roach was drafted by the Angels and is now in the Padres system.

“That is one of his (Roach’s) words. He has always used 'clown' as an (adjective),” Bryan Harper said.

As for how his brother used the reference in context: “That is some saltiness. A little bit of veteran swagger right there for Bryce.”

Everything ultimately came back to what Auburn’s Harper has in common with Washington’s. Brothers playing a common game in a common organization. One of them famously using, “clown" and "bro.” One of them talking about where it came from.

“We love to play the game and that is the way that we carry ourselves,” Bryan Harper said. “We want to be another one of the guys.”

One of the bros.

One of the bros with great hair that is. 

Sports writer Ben Meyers can be reached at 282-2257 or at ben.meyers@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMeyers.

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