Many MLB voices have weighed in on the dugout fight between Nationals players Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper during Sunday’s game against the Phillies, including several that are understanding of the incident.
The fight took place in the bottom of the eighth inning after Harper flied out. Cameras caught the closer putting his hands around Harper’s neck after the two exchanged words.
When former Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. was asked about the he responded, “...I can see how tempers flare. And I can see how when a season doesn’t go the way you thought it would and you get eliminated from the playoffs, I think emotions can be a little higher.”
Ripken said also added that he believes Papelbon and Harper have resolved the problem, adding, ”So, I don't think it’s an issue.”
Angels outfielder David Murphy said in an interview with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio that he believes the incident was a case of Papelbon trying to hold Harper accountable for the way he plays the game, but added that the physical nature of it was “probably unnecessary.”
Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz told the Associated Press that when adrenaline and emotions are in the mix, these types of incidents are bound to occur. “It’s not like they happen a lot, but they happen. We spend way too much time together, away from our family. You’ve got 25 different mentalities together at once, 25 different men in the same room. Even between big brother, little brother — fights happen.
The Nationals suspended Papelbon for four games without pay following the fight. The suspension begins on Thursday and will keep the pitcher out for the resmainder of the season.
- Xandria James