All the money in the world still isn’t buying Bryce Harper much patience.
The Phillies’ $330 million man blew his stack on Monday night during a 5-1 loss against the New York Mets in the fourth inning when he was ejected for yelling at umpire Mark Carlson from the dugout.
Harper continued chirping at Carlson for four batters after he was called out on strikes on a high fastball from Steven Matz. However, it was a borderline call that was too close to take in a two-strike count.
Carlson’s decision to eject Harper after the incessant chirping prompted manager Gabe Kapler to come bounding out of the dugout with Harper not too far behind.
Kapler had to restrain Harper, who proceeded to bump his manager into Carlson before things cooled down.
It was Harper’s 12th career ejection, making him the first Phillie to be thrown out of a game since Justin De Fratus in June of 2015. Only Matt Kemp, who made his MLB debut six years before Harper, has more ejections among active players with 14.
His ensuing absence headlined the Phillies’ loss, allowing the Mets to move back into first place in the hotly-contested NL East as every divisional game — even in April — carries considerable weight.
Unlike his first seven MLB seasons with the Washington Nationals, though, Harper simply wasn’t given a pass for his actions. The 27-year-old’s shtick in the nation’s capital was to be that brooding superstar who made his dissatisfaction with umpires clear and apparent.
Now in Philadelphia, his teammates are going to help hold him accountable for his actions. At least, that’s what starting pitcher Jake Arrieta attempted to do following Monday night’s game.
“We need him in right field. I don’t care how bad [the umpire] is. I need him in right field. I need him at the plate and he wasn’t there,” Arrieta said. “So that hurts. He missed some pitches but for both sides. If that’s the case, that happens on a nightly basis usually. The umpire is going to miss some calls. So what? Next pitch. We’ve got a game to play.”
After Harper had five innings in the clubhouse to compose himself, he stepped up and took responsibility.
“I have to stay in that game for the organization, the fans. I have to do better,” Harper said. “These games matter. They matter now, they matter in September.”
“It just can’t happen. In a game like that against the Mets, division rival, things like that, it just can’t happen. For myself and this team, as well. We’re a better team with me in the lineup and I have to stay in that game.”
It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to show composure. Harper losing his cool has become commonplace, especially in high-leverage situations or hostile environments.
In a season that is probably going to see the divisional race come down to three or even four teams, it’s a dangerous prospect that will loom over the Phillies should things go wrong, even for a moment. Even if it’s in the fourth inning of an April game.
“I’m usually zero-to-100 anyways, so I feel like all my ejections it’s usually pretty calm, and then ‘bam!'” Harper said. “Once it happens, try to let it out, I guess.”