Harper v. Strickland

As baseball brawls go, Nats v. Giants, Bryce Harper v. Hunter Strickland was a beauty.  Even if a number of NFL’ers were laughing at how these two went about giving each other the hands.

It all went down in the 8th inning, when Harper stepped in against Strickland for the first time since the 2014 postseason when he wrecked him with two bombs. Obviously, Strickland had not forgotten that:


Of course, Strickland tried to say he was just trying to come inside with a fastball and it happened to get away from him. Something obviously his own catcher Buster Posey didn’t buy because he didn’t move an inch when Harper went to the mound.

I’ve never seen a catcher do that before. Posey’s whole vibe was, for who? For what? And I don’t blame the guy at all. His pitcher essentially incited a riot. And why? Because he couldn’t keep this guy in the yard. Three years ago.

And as Harper points out, did it after their team won that series and went on to win the entire thing. And three years later he’s intentionally dotting a guy with 98 mile per hour heat. I can see where Harper was pissed. And I can even see where Posey was pissed, because he knows when the Nats decide to retaliate, and they will, maybe even today, Posey’s the one who is going to get dotted. So Posey is catching some heat for not having his guy’s back, or for being a bad teammate. When this is all on Strickland: if anyone was acting like a bad teammate, it’s Strickland; he’s the one that put his teammates at risk.

And Posey obviously wasn’t the only Giants who felt that way. So did manager Bruce Bochy who admitted that Strickland hitting Harper quote, “looked bad.” Boch’s right. It looked terrible. And so did the fact that Strickland went crazy after it went down and had to be dragged off the field by four guys, including Hunter Pence who could’ve reinjured himself in the process.

Look, I get that Harper rubs people the wrong way. And is prone to admiring his own work at times. And that Strickland obviously felt like he did when he yacked him. But he can’t justify hitting this guy with 98 mile per hour over whatever crime against the baseball gods he thinks Harper committed.

And no it doesn’t matter that he hit him in the right spot and that he didn’t go head hunter. That’s still 98 mile per hour cheese thrown at a defenseless batter. And it was intentional. And for no good reason.

Now that’s not to say that Harper is without blame. He’s guilty too. Guilty of the worst helmet toss ever. You could certainly argue that Harper has to be smarter than that. That by rushing the mound, he could have been badly hurt or one or more of his teammates could have been too when they rushed in. Easy to say now: not so easy to say after he just got dotted. Probably hurt like hell. And as Harper said, when it happened, he just saw red. I get it. I can see why Harper did what he did. I can’t see why Strickland did what he did.

 

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