In accordance with its policy to review every ejection, Major League Baseball today is reviewing the actions and words of both Bryce Harper and veteran umpire John Hirschbeck during the confrontation that ended with Harper tossed in the first inning Sunday.
Hirschbeck has come under scrutiny for what many believe to be an over-aggressive stance. Baseball has no precise threshold for when to discipline an umpire. They review incidents case-by-case and determine if the umpire crossed a line into unacceptable behavior.
Yesterday, Hirschbeck told a pool reporter he had “no recourse” but to throw out Harper after he raised his arms over his head, then “threw his bat” and “slammed his helmet down” after Hirschbeck yelled at him. One video clip, though, appears to show Harper dropping both pieces of equipment with little force, although Harper did glare at Hirschbeck as he did so.
Last week, umpire Tom Hallion received a fine for his role in a spat with David Price and other Tampa Bay Rays pitchers. Price alleged Hallion used an expletive toward him, and Hallion replied by calling Price “a liar.”
Harper steered clear of discussing his feelings toward Hirschbeck. He expressed happiness the Nationals had beaten the Pirates and said he did not want to “badmouth” anyone.
At the least, Harper could receive a nominal $1,000 fine for an equipment violation, which includes throwing bats and helmets. Hirschbeck said he pointed toward Harper in order to denote an equipment violation.