Here is the video from Wednesday night’s Nats win, in which Bryce Harper grounds into a double play, chucks his helmet and gets ejected.
There are two truths about this sequence.
1) It was kind of ridiculous for first-base ump C.B. Bucknor — a man who has been voted MLB’s worst umpire three times by players — to toss Harper for such a mild display of frustration at himself. How much easier would it have been to turn his back, and later warn Harper? How many worse things have we all seen players do with smaller consequences? How is an umpire displaying his mighty power in this situation good for any paying customer in the world?
2) Don’t throw your helmet, and it doesn’t happen. Don’t smash your bat, either.
And the latter point is probably more important. Because this baseball team will almost certainly be playing playoff games in the near future, and no playoff team wants to shorten its bench due to an on-field temper tantrum. Which Harper’s teammates and coaches are well aware of.
“It was just terrible timing, a bad decision to begin with but those are the things that he has to learn,” Ryan Zimmerman said, via James Wagner. “Whenever he doesn’t do something or isn’t successful when he thinks he should be, he gets upset. We all do. We just don’t do that. We did it, a long time ago. He’s just doing it now. He knows he needs to stop.”
Harper knows, too, telling reporters he needs to “try not to bash stuff in and things like that.”
Harper bounces a bat off the wall into his face
Harper breaks a bat over his knee
Harper’s violence against batting helmets
Harper smashes another bat