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Bryce Harper pays tribute to his hometown with 'Pray for Las Vegas' cleats

Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals will be playing Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, but his mind has been on other things. He’s been thinking about his hometown of Las Vegas, and the deadly shooting that happened there on Sunday night, when a man opened fire on a crowded concert from his hotel window, killing 58 people and wounding another 500.

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Harper tweeted about the tragedy on Monday, sharing his disbelief about the incident and his unwavering pride and love for Las Vegas.

On Thursday he let everyone know just how much he’d been thinking about his hometown. First, he unveiled a pair of cleats with a very special message.

Those are custom made “Pray for Las Vegas” cleats, featuring the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Harper hasn’t revealed whether or not he’ll wear them during the NLDS, but a guy like Harper doesn’t have those cleats made just so they can sit on a shelf. But even if he doesn’t wear them, he’s already been sporting other Vegas-supporting apparel.

Beyond those custom cleats, Harper also reflected on the shooting on Thursday, speaking to reporters for the first time since it happened. From ESPN:

“It’s definitely an unbelievable thing to happen. You never want that to happen to anybody across the world or anything like that, and for it to happen in your hometown, it definitely hits home.”

It’s definitely affected him, but he’s finding comfort in how his community has come together to help each other in the days since the tragedy. From USA Today:

“Talking to friends, talking to family that were definitely at the concert and seeing things that happened and transpired from that, it just goes to show how strong our community is in Vegas,” he said, “how small-knit a community it can be. Everybody pulling together and providing, if anybody needs any help.”

For Harper, Friday night is all about baseball. But he’ll be bringing Las Vegas with him onto the field, either in his thoughts, or on his feet.

Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper walks on the field during practice at Nationals Park, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, in Washington. Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs is on Friday. (AP Photo)

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher