Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper was ejected from Monday night’s 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning after arguing with home plate umpire Brian Knight. Harper’s ejection occurred after the 2015 NL MVP and teammates yelled at Knight following shortstop Danny Espinosa being called out on strikes to lead off the inning.
The next batter, pinch-hitter Clint Robinson, slammed a game-winning walk-off home run to give the Nationals the win. As the Nationals mobbed Robinson at home plate, Harper broke away from his teammates for a brief moment and yelled some “choice words” at Knight, who was standing several feet away. ESPN cameras caught the confrontation, which shows harper seemingly yell “hey, f*** you” towards Knight, who turned and walk away.
Smart choice of words from Bryce after he was just tossed. https://t.co/5PjW7upwEQ
— Eroc RDT (@BarstoolRDT) May 10, 2016
Before his ejection, Harper struck out in the fourth inning of Monday’s game in a three-pitch at-bat. Two of the three strikes in Harper’s at-bat were called, and Harper chirped at Knight following the K. After the game, Harper acknowledged the altercation with Knight, saying that he believes he was in the right and is willing to face whatever consequences come out of the incident.
“Yeah, absolutely. 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.”
It’s been a pretty bad week for MLB umpires after the whole David Ortiz/Ron Kulpa mess from Friday night in the Bronx. Bryce Harper and Brian Knight continued the beef between players and umpires with this little ejection/verbal exchange on Monday, and it’s hard to really side with either Harper or Knight on this one at this current point in time. Obviously, Bryce Harper yelling “f*** you” at a major league umpire is beyond boneheaded and unacceptable conduct and he should absolutely be handed down some sort of fine. On the other side of things, who knows what Knight said to Harper to get him so fired up. Bryce Harper doesn’t exactly have the best reputation when it comes to getting along with umpires and teammates, but it’s also not too irrational to believe that an MLB umpire could have a big ego and want to make an example out of a young player like Harper similar to the way Knight did on Monday. If that were the case, then Harper wouldn’t have the right, but one could certainly understand his reasoning for saying the things he said to Knight following the game. We’ll see how Rob Manfred feels on the matter in the coming days.