When Bryce Harper spiked his helmet onto the ground after grounding into a double play in the ninth inning of last week’s 8-4 win over the Miami Marlins, first base umpire C.B. Bucknor tossed him. It was not only a first for the rookie in the major leagues but for the Nationals as well this season.
Before that game, the Nationals were the only team in baseball to have no ejections so far this season, according to local baseball historian David Vincent, who keeps tabs on things such as home runs and ejections. And even with Harper’s tossing, the Nationals still have the fewest ejections in the majors. The Seattle Mariners also have one ejection this year: Manager Eric Wedge was tossed on Aug. 7.
Last year, the Nationals had 10 ejections, including four by then-Manager Jim Riggleman was tossed four times. In 2010, the Nationals were tossed 18 times — a rare year in which even cool-headed players such as Adam Dunn and Ryan Zimmerman were ejected. The year before that, the Nationals had only four ejections.
It seems that with winning, Nationals players have had little reason to get upset. And, according to Adam LaRoche, the team is made up of generally calm people.
“I don’t think we’ve had that long stretch of really frustrating losing, nothing is going right and getting [upset],” said LaRoche, who has been ejected only twice in his nine-year career; last in 2008. “I think that’s part of it. I guess we’ve got calm tempers.”
It’s worth noting that only six current Nationals players aside from Harper have been ejected in their careers: Mark DeRosa (with the Texas Rangers in 2006); Ian Desmond (throwing his helmet following an overturned call in 2010); Jesus Flores in 2008; John Lannan (in his 2007 major league debut); LaRoche (in 2006 and 2008); and Zimmerman (throwing down his bat and helmet after a strikeout on Aug. 18, 2010). Also, Manager Davey Johnson has been tossed 34 times in his career; his most recent one on Aug. 28, 2011.
THE MAGIC NUMBER
22: Any combination of Washington wins and Atlanta losses totaling 22 will eliminate the Braves from the NL East race. Atlanta handled Colorado, 6-1, on Monday. How is the rest of the NL playoff race shaping up? MLB standings | Wild-card standings
FROM TODAY’S POST
Ross Detwiler answering call for Nationals as MLB playoffs draw close, Thomas Boswell writes.
FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL
NATS MINOR LEAGUES
Rochester 6, Syracuse 4: Upcoming Nats call-up Corey Brown went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run, his 25th of the season. Brett Carroll went 2 for 3. Yunesky Maya allowed six runs on 11 hits over 7 1/3 innings.
Bowie 7, Harrisburg 2: Anthony Rendon went 2 for 3 with a home run, and Destin Hood and Seth Bynum each added a hit. Justin Bloxom added a solo homer.
Potomac 3, Wilmington 0: Kevin Keyes went 1 for 3 with a two-run home run, his 21st of the season and third-most ever in a season for a Potomac National. J.P. Ramirez went 2 for 3. Taylor Hill pitched five scoreless innings in a rain-shortened shutout.
Asheville 3, Hagerstown 2: Brett Newsome went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Hendry Jimenez and Cutter Dykstra each added two hits. Five relievers combined to allow only one hit over the final five innings.
Auburn 5, Batavia 3: Shawn Pleffner went 3 for 4 with a home run, Brandon Miller went 2 for 4 and Wander Ramos went 3 for 4. Nicholas Lee allowed two runs, one earned, over 5 1/3 innings and Derek Self notched his 14th save.