On Sunday, after Bryce Harper jogged to first on a pop-up, like 90% of ballplayers do, Jonathan Papelbon took exception to it. The 11-year vet decided to grab Harper by the neck in the dugout after confronting him and slammed him agaisnt the wall, before their teammates could break it up.
Many former players have backed up Papelbon, but said it was bad timing. Well if Papelbon was ‘right’ to set Harper straight then why not let other National teammates know when they jog to first? CJ Nitkowski, in this interesting piece, had good quotes from anonymous players.
Bryce is a great player. He’s a true superstar. But he’s not above playing the game the right way. I’m glad someone finally told him that
The right way? It’s either he plays too hard or he doesn’t play hard enough. I don’t get it.
He quit on his team after the fight, just like he does on popups
He was the only player keeping the Nationals afloat in the playoff race.
As much as I hate to say it, Albert, Papi and Miggy have earned the right not to run out every ball. Partly age, respect and risk of injury. Harper is 22, he hasn’t earned it
I didn’t know you had to earn the right to break the unwritten rules of baseball? I wonder if that player knows Harper is having a Barry Bonds-in-his-prime type of season, because that quote makes very little sense to me.
Out of the 14 quotes, 14 said Harper deserved to get a talking to one way or another. Doesn’t that seem off? Harper is one of the more aggressive base runners in baseball, but I guess his teammates and other players around the league only care about hustle on pop-ups? Not only does FanGraphs give Harper a positive 3.6 for base running, which ranks 14th in the National League, but he also swipes the most extra bases on the team according to Ken Rosenthal in his piece.
Harper might be arrogant, but he’s also one of the best in the game and he shouldn’t be harassed for jogging to first on a pop-up. Especially by someone who just threw at an opponent twice, because they looked at their (go-ahead) home run too long.
On Monday the Nationals announced that Papelbon would be suspended for the rest of the season. He is under contract with the Nationals through next season.
My co-worker Jeff Snider wrote a phenomenal piece on the scuffle on Monday. Check it out.