Bryce Harper came to the Phillies as a player who, as recently as this past winter, was seen by some in Major League Baseball’s executive circles as “not a winner.” Based on tonight’s evidence, it’s probably safe to say that Harper very much wants to win.
Tonight’s Phillies/Mets game featured umpire Mark Carlson behind home plate. “Featured,” because Carlson apparently never heard the adage that says the umpire is doing his job when no one notices he is there. Carlson’s command of the strike zone tonight through three innings was, to put it charitably, garbage. Harper had been punched out looking in his at-bat in the top of the fourth, and clearly did not care for the second strike (fourth pitch) in the AB:
Bryce Harper was ejected, apparently for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. Harper bounded onto the field, livid, to scream at home-plate umpire Mark Carlson, as the Citi Field crowd went bananas.
Harper was particularly mad about Pitch 4 in his second at-bat here: pic.twitter.com/FJZdqb7ENu
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 23, 2019
Rhys Hoskins then hit a home run, and the iffy strike zone Carlson was enforcing receded into the background for, oh, maybe a few minutes. After a walk to Maikel Franco and a lineout by Phil Gosselin, Cesar Hernandez took a 1-1 pitch at (above?) the letters:
And at that point, Harper had seen enough:
Bryce Harper wasn't having it tonight 😡 pic.twitter.com/DwnzRMtX46
— ESPN (@espn) April 23, 2019
Harper became the first Phillie to be ejected from a regular season game since 2015 when Justin de Fratus took an early shower on June 16 of that season. Try to come up with another time where you’d put de Fratus and Harper in the same sentence. Not sure you can.
And it wasn’t quite over then, because Phillies manager Gabe Kapler sprinted from the dugout to get to Carlson, with Harper right behind him — and both Harper and Kapler tore into Carlson until there wasn’t much point to it anymore. It looked for all the world like Kapler wanted to get ejected, too; it also looked like Carlson knew what kind of night he was having and decided to let Kapler have his say without consequence.
Neither the ejection nor the likely suspension of Harper is good news for the Phillies. But let’s take a little time now to appreciate how nice it is to have a competitive team that knows how good it can be and, tonight anyway, won’t sit quietly when it’s getting screwed.