WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Although cooler heads can gather third base umpire John Hirschbeck was looking for a fight when he threw Bryce Harper out in the 1st inning of the Pittsburgh game Sunday, Mike Rizzo says the 20-year-old slugger needs to be a little smarter and not throw his hands up in defiance of an umpire’s decision.
But first, Rizzo defended Harper, seemingly agreeing that Hirschbeck could have looked the other way.
“You could say that Bryce shouldn’t put his hands up in there air, which he shouldn’t, but I’ve seen much worse things that happened at a home plate, that guys weren’t ejected, than that,” Rizzo told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny Wednesday. “For instance, you saw Joey Votto at home plate against us at our ballpark, slam and break a bat, slam and break a helmet, and no one said a word about it.
“It was an emotional time and Bryce has to be a little smarter and not throw his hands up in the air, but certainly it could have been avoided by throwing him out of the game,” Rizzo continued.
This game-tossing exchange came after Harper tried to hold up on a 2-2 pitch from Pirates lefty Wandy Rodriguez, and the home plate umpire went to Hirschbeck for the final judgment. He said Harper went. Harper threw his hands up and Hirschbeck threw his up in response. Harper dropped his bat and helmet, a gesture associated with showing up the ump in baseball, and was immediately tossed.
This still doesn’t explain why Hirschbeck was goading Harper into dropping his equipment, although the actions of both parties are under review by the MLB.
“There’s umpire supervisors in the stands at most, if not all games,” Rizzo said. “There’s umpire supervisors in New York City that prodigalize and take into account, and watch each and every ejection, or plays that are controversial.”
“I don’t have much to say on it,” Harper said after the game. “I’m not going to badmouth anybody or say anything I shouldn’t say. I’m glad we got the W today.”
Hirschbeck did have something to say however, which seems to support the theory that he was looking forward to tossing the 2012 N.L. R.O.Y. from the game.
“I didn’t like that he put his hands up with the bat,” Hirschbeck said. “That’s kind of what I yelled at him. He continued and threw his bat. I kind of pointed like, ‘That’s equipment.’ And then, he still continued and slammed his helmet down. That’s when I ejected him. I was actually just being nice. Even the hands up in the air is showing me up, to me. I could have ejected him right then. I was nice enough to leave him in the game. And then he slammed his bat down. And then on top of that, he slammed his helmet. I had no other recourse, really.”