Bryce Harper already had removed his right shin guard when third base umpire Ángel Hernandez called the Phillies slugger out on a checked strike three.
Harper lost his cool.
Harper — who seemingly held his swing on a slider on a full count against Pirates starter Luis L. Ortiz — whipped off his batting helmet and stormed down toward third base, shouting at Hernandez. Harper was tossed before he was halfway down the line.
Harper kept going and pointed his finger near Hernandez's face, a furious outburst that only ended when manager Rob Thomson separated the two.
“Angel in the middle of something again,” Harper said after the Phillies fell to the Pirates 3-2. “It's just every year. It's the same story, same thing.”
Harper, who has been ejected four times this season, said he expected to get a letter and a fine from Major League Baseball. The popular first baseman said it was unfortunate he was tossed in the home finale, the last chance for some fans to see him play this season.
The Phillies will host the NL Wild Card Series next week.
“It's just not right,” Harper said. “It's just the reaction of, I should be on first base. I'm grinding as hard as I can in the batter's box. These games, everyone talks about, oh, they don't mean that much. But they do. For each stat, each game, winning games, a winning mentality, everything. All these at-bats matter. We don't play this game forever.”
Harper, who has 21 homers and 71 RBIs this season, said Hernandez told him, “if I saw the replay that I would know that I was wrong.”
Did he see the replay?
“I didn't need to see the replay,” Harper said.
Harper eventually stormed back to the dugout and tossed his helmet over the protective netting and into the stands.
“There was some distance to it,” Thomson cracked. “He's an emotional guy. He wants to perform, he wants to win. Sometimes it comes out like that.”
Thomson said he got worried when Harper charged toward Hernandez because, “I couldn't quite get there in time. My speed's kind of backward the last few years.”
The helmet was recovered by 10-year-old Hayden Dorfman, of Voorhees, New Jersey. The helmet was retrieved by team personnel and later returned to the child signed by Harper.
“I never want to get thrown out of a game,” Harper said. “I never want to be on that side of it and make someone's night in that situation. This was our last game at home, in the regular season. Not many people are going to be able to afford tickets to see a postseason game. It's a very tough ticket to get, especially with what we have right here. Getting thrown out of a game like that, it's not fun because they might see me for the last time this year. I don't like that.”
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