Whether deserving or not, umpires around Major League Baseball have a target on Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. For the second time in a week’s time, Harper found himself at odds with an umpire. His latest incident was in the 12th inning of the Nats’ 5-4 loss to the New York Mets Thursday.
Harper struck out looking, off a pitch that appeared to be inside off the plate. As home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn rung up Harper, Harper dropped both his head and hands in disgust. It appears Harper mumbled some words either to himself or at Rayburn. Either way as he slowly walked towards the dugout, Rayburn tossed him out of the game — Harper’s first ejection of the season.
That’s when Harper became irate. Nationals manager Davey Martinez ran in to get in between Harper and Rayburn. Harper, while still holding his bat, got very animated before third base coach Bob Henley ran in to intervene.
Warning Language NSFW:
Bryce Harper ejected. “Didn’t say a [bleeping] word” pic.twitter.com/WCR5L5KuJK
— Rudy Gersten (@DCBarno) September 21, 2018
Another umpire would eventually appear to try and calm the situation. Harper tried pushing Henley and Martinez out of the way to get back at Rayburn.
Last Friday, Harper and umpire Laz Diaz got into a stare-off until Diaz screamed at both Harper and Martinez, pointing into the outfield where Harper was standing in the process.
Harper is an aggressive player, and one that has had his fair share of run-ins with umpires during his MLB career. For whatever reason — possibly all the run-ins — the smallest gesture by Harper has drawn the ire of umpires. That was ever so clear with Diaz. Meanwhile, Rayburn never quite got that theatrical with the situation, but obviously he did not need be to upset Harper.
Following the game Martinez tried explaining the ejection
Dave Martinez on Bryce Harper's ejection in the 12th inning:
"He walked away. I don’t think he showed him up at all, I really don’t, and D.J. thought he did.”
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) September 21, 2018