One thing Phillies fans have yet to experience much of is new slugger Bryce Harper’s at-times contentious relationship with baseball’s umpires. He has been known to shout “fuck you” at them; they have been known to eject him for mysterious reasons. In general the two sides seem to harbor quite a bit of mutual resentment, some of which bubbled over again Monday night.
Following a rain-delayed start, Mets pitcher Steven Matz mostly mowed his way through Philadelphia’s intimidating lineup, limiting the Phillies to three hits and one run over six innings of work. In two tries against Harper, Matz recorded two of his six strikeouts, on a total of ten pitches. Harper moved the bat off his shoulder three times, and looked at a total of four called strikes. He apparently liked none of them, as he made clear following his second at-bat. That led to the following scene, with Harper and manager Gabe Kapler losing their damn minds at home plate umpire Mark Carlson:
Harper set a goal for himself in 2018 that he would not be ejected from any games all season, and then, sadly, borked it all up in the final week of the season. The man’s got a temper! Notably, this was the first time a Phillies player has been ejected from a game since 2015, which incidentally was the rough midpoint of their active seven season streak of missing the playoffs. If apathy works as a handy explanation for that dearth of ejections, then perhaps Harper’s meltdown is another sign of this team’s rise back to contention? Or, anyway, that’s a possible silver lining for a loss to the dreaded Mets.