WASHINGTON — Atlanta Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday that a tweet directed at Bryce Harper was “an inappropriate attempt at humor,” even as both teams wondered when or if there would be further repercussions from the fastball that drilled the Washington Nationals slugger in the leg the night before.
Harper took exception when he hit by Julio Teheran in the fifth inning of the Braves’ 2-1 win Tuesday. It was the first pitch to Harper after he homered to deep center off Teheran in the third and trotted around the bases at a slower pace than his usual sprint.
Both benches emptied, but no punches were thrown. Shortly afterward, “Clown move bro” was posted to the Braves’ official Twitter account — a spinoff of Harper’s famous line: “That’s a clown question, bro.”
“It doesn’t reflect how we feel, how we want to do business or who we are,” Wren said. “But that’s really all I have to say about it. It was an inappropriate attempt at humor. And I think you shouldn’t ever be directing anything — unless it’s positive or uplifting — at another team or an opponent. I think that’s kind of plain and simple.”
The Nationals answered the Braves tweet-for-tweet, posting on their official feed: “Which part, giving up the home run, or drilling the 20-year-old on the first pitch his next time up?”
Asked if he felt that was appropriate, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he’s also often guilty of speaking rashly.
“I usually say what’s on my mind,” Johnson said. “A lot of times I say too much and I’m too candid. But everybody tweets, I guess. Not me.”
Beyond the Twitter spat, there was also the question as to whether the Nationals would retaliate for what they felt was a clear beaning. Johnson said after the game it was something to file away “for future reference,” while Harper took the high road by saying: “It’s part of the game and it’s something, I guess, he’s got to do.”
Asked on Wednesday what might happen in the finale of the three-game series, Johnson said: “It’s just baseball as usual.” Then he paused and gave a big smile.
Johnson also told a story about the time he was hit in the shoulder by Jerry Reuss and suspected it because of a bit of trash talk directed at Leo Durocher.
“I knew it wasn’t Jerry Reuss because he was kind of a softie,” Johnson said. “You say something bad to a manager, you might get plunked. If you lay down a bunt, they’d hit you. Now it’s going slow around the bases?”
Johnson cited Harper’s nagging knee injury as a reason for the slower lap around the bases. He was also curious why the Braves, closing in on the NL East title, would risk putting Harper on base in a one-run game.
“When you’re in their position, it’s remarkable that that would happen because they would have more to lose in a donneybrook if someone gets hurt,” Johnson said. “But everybody has a different viewpoint on how the game is played.”
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