Bryce Harper, Jonathan Papelbon fight in Nats’ dugout (Video)
Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon got into a fight in the Nationals’ dugout on Sunday, almost metaphorically capturing the disappointment and frustration with the team’s season.
Papelbon came into the game during the eighth inning after Washington blew a 4-2 lead to the Phillies and got the final out of the inning. He was in the dugout for the top of the ninth and got into it with Harper, who had flied out but apparently didn’t run hard enough for Papelbon’s liking.
As Harper entered the dugout, sparks flew between them:
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) September 27, 2015
Jonathan Papelbon & Bryce Harper Fight in Nationals Dugout pic.twitter.com/PO9kvSYmev
— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) September 27, 2015
Papelbon remained in the game to pitch the bottom of the inning and allowed a 2-run home run to break the tie, while Harper exited the game, probably taking a moment to cool off. Manager Matt Williams explained why he shockingly allowed Papelbon to remain in the game despite choking a teammate:
Matt Williams on sending Papelbon out to pitch after he literally tried to strangle Bryce Harper: “It was a tied game. He’s our closer.”
— Lindsey Adler (@Lahlahlindsey) September 27, 2015
Papelbon seemed to confirm after the game that he was upset with Harper for not hustling:
Papelbon: "I'm in the wrong there." Wouldn't specify what exactly took issue with, but said its important to "play the game the right way."
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) September 27, 2015
Williams has taken issue with Harper over that in the past, even benching his young star because of it. Maybe he agreed with Papelbon’s criticism.
There was already tension between the teammates after Harper complained about Papelbon throwing at Manny Machado, saying he was probably going to get hit in retaliation. Perhaps that contributed to whatever unfolded between them on Sunday leading to the fight.
Image via @MarkMeany