WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper finally got official at-bats on Monday night against the Detroit Tigers, breaking his streak of 12 consecutive plate appearances that ended in a walk, sacrifice fly or hit by pitch.
Unfortunately, they didn’t go well, as he finished the night 0-for-two with two walks. His frustration boiled over in the dugout, as he was ejected by the umpire in the ninth inning, presumably for arguing balls and strikes.
The reasoning was not immediately clear to the reigning National League MVP:
Harper left the visible part of the dugout, but not for long. Pinch-hitter Clint Robinson took his at-bat, slugging a walk-off homerun and bringing his teammates, including Harper onto the field.
Harper’s celebration was interrupted only by his last word with the umpire. Let’s just say, the two probably won’t be exchanging holiday cards:
He may be hearing from the league on his choice of final words. But he didn’t back down from his position after the game.
“You never want to get thrown out in that situation, especially in the ninth inning, tie ball game,” Harper told the media after the game. “I think everybody was up on the steps, preaching about what they thought was going on. [Home plate umpire Brian Knight] picked me, said, ‘See you later.'”
The short fuse and selection of Harper may have had something to do with a disagreement between the two from earlier in the game.
“I think I was pretty upset,” Harper said. “Didn’t think it was right to do that. Let him hear what I had to say, let him hear it again. So what.
“I think my emotion showed I was pretty surprised. I think Clint Robinson made me really excited, hit the walk-off, got the W, so that’s all that matters about tonight.”
On the matter of whether or not he’ll get fined, Harper made it known that he doesn’t really care, if everything is equal.
“If I do [get fined], I do. I’ll pay it. I think it deserves…maybe he’ll get fined too.”
As a bonus, on a bizarre play, Robinson didn’t know he was the game-winner, only that he had given his team the lead. He thought it was the eighth inning, and didn’t know the game was over until he met his teammates at home plate:
“I’m not kidding,” Robinson told the media after the game. “Thinking it was the eighth inning probably had a calming effect on me, thinking it’s just the eighth inning, just another pinch-hit at-bat, no big deal.
“Rounding third, knowing it was a walk-off homer made it that much sweeter. We spend a lot of time in the tunnel getting ready and sometimes the game can slow down or speed up on you and you can lose track of the innings sometimes.
“The only thing I really concerned myself with was when the pitcher’s spot was up.”