Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper was ejected during the ninth inning of Monday's 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers, and the reigning National League MVP showed no regret for his actions afterward.
Harper was tossed after he and several Nats teammates yelled at home plate umpire Brian Knight for calling Danny Espinosa out on strikes. Clint Robinson hit a walk-off, pinch-hit home run shortly thereafter, and Harper expressed his displeasure by barking at Knight again and apparently cursing.
According to ESPN.com's Eddie Matz, the 23-year-old outfielder felt as though his reaction to Knight's decision was warranted: "I was pretty upset. I think I was right to do that. Let him hear what I have to say, let him hear it again, and so what? Couple choice words. If I do [get fined], I do. I'll pay it. So I think it deserves to, you know, maybe he'll get fined, too. So we'll see."
Nats manager Dusty Baker also commented on the ejection, and although Harper has already been tossed seven times during his young career, the veteran skipper doesn't believe it will become a serious issue: "It's an emotional game. He's an emotional young man. You certainly don't like him to get tossed, but every once in a while, you gotta blow off some steam or else you go crazy. I'm sure it won't happen again."
Harper is among the most feared hitters in baseball, as evidenced by his .330 batting average and 42 home runs en route to being named National League MVP last season.
His 2016 numbers are down a bit to the tune of a .260 average with 10 homers and 27 RBI, but after the Chicago Cubs walked him an MLB-record 13 times in a four-game series last week, it is clear that teams respect what he can do at the plate.
Harper's emotions have gotten him in trouble with regard to ejections over the course of his career, and while Monday's incident didn't cost the team, it could have if Robinson didn't end the game with a home run.
The Nationals are a far more dangerous team when Harper is on the field and in the No. 3 spot of the lineup, so although his fiery demeanor makes for some interesting moments, the Nats would benefit from a bit more restraint in the future.
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