Unsurprisingly, Major League Baseball suspended San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Hunter Strickland and Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the brawl the two players were involved in on Monday afternoon.
It was announced on Tuesday that Strickland would be suspended for six games. Harper initially received a four-game ban. However, Major League Baseball reduced Harper’s suspension to three games on Wednesday afternoon.
The now infamous brawl started after Strickland threw a pitch directly at Harper’s hip during the eighth inning of Monday’s game at At&T Park. After the pitch hit him, Harper threw his helmet in anger and charged the mound. As Strickland and Harper went at it, the benches of both teams cleared.
Following the brawl, Strickland and Harper were both ejected from the game. The Nationals went on to beat the Giants 3-0.
It was obvious that Strickland hit Harper intentionally. The two players have a history with each other. Back in the 2014 National League Division Series between the Giants and Nationals, Harper took Strickland deep twice over the course of the four-game series. The first home run was not really the problem. What annoyed the Giants reliever was that the Nationals young slugger stared him down as he rounded the bases after hitting the second home run off of him. Harper also stood near the batter’s box for a few seconds and watched the ball go over the fence, something that definitely irked Strickland.
Clearly, Strickland had been holding a grudge against Harper for a few years. He did not appreciate being shown up. Even though the Giants went on to defeat the Nationals in four games in the NLDS and eventually won the 2014 World Series, Strickland still harbored plenty of anger toward Harper. He finally saw a good opportunity to get revenge when the Nationals came to town on Monday, and decided to do so.
Baseball is not a sport known for its fights, so when this happened, it garnered plenty of attention. The brawl got fans fired up on social media. It was even more significant because Harper was involved. He is one of the biggest stars in the game right now. The 24-year-old slugger is a four-time All-Star and won the NL MVP Award in 2015. Although Harper is disliked by many fans and players, no one can deny that he is extremely talented.
Everyone knew that suspensions were coming for Strickland and Harper. Strickland purposely hit Harper, who then promptly decided to charger the mound. Considering the history between these two players, this is unlikely to be the last time that they are involved in an altercation.