Bryce Harper ejected by Angel Hernandez after a truly terrible call

Bryce Harper ejected by Angel Hernandez after a truly terrible call originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Bryce Harper was ejected in the bottom of the third inning Thursday night after going absolutely nuts on infamous umpire Angel Hernandez when Hernandez blew a call, ruling Harper swung with two strikes when the bat barely left his shoulder.

If appeals to third base on a check swing could be measured, this might’ve been among the worst in big-league history.

There’s no concrete way for a third or first base umpire to rule whether a player swung. It is often based on intent. Sometimes it seems to be based on whether a player’s bat crossed the plate. No matter the definition, Harper did not offer at the pitch, a 3-2 slider from Pirates right-hander Luis Ortiz.

Harper was livid. He walked all the way up the third base line gesturing and screaming at Hernandez, appearing to say, “That’s bull—-” and “that’s so (bleeping) weak,” among other things.

Harper walked off the field to a loud ovation and threw his helmet into the stands. A young kid ended up with it and wore it the rest of the game.

The fact that it was Hernandez probably played into Harper’s reaction. Hernandez is notorious for missing calls and having a quick hook, and he’s almost universally disliked by players, managers, coaches and fans. Everything is measured these days and the data has agreed with the eye test of most.

It was the fourth time this season Harper has been ejected. He was tossed by home plate umpire Alex Tosi two weeks ago in St. Louis after a bad strike-two call by Tosi that led to a Harper K. He was ejected for arguing a check swing call back in June. In mid-May, he was given the boot after Rockies reliever Jake Bird taunted the Phillies’ dugout and an ensuing argument led to both benches clearing.

Harper plays with as much passion as anyone in the bigs. Thursday’s matchup of the Phillies and Pirates meant absolutely nothing in the standings, but when Harper’s in between the lines, he’s a different person.

“It’s probably not the first time you’re going to see Bryce get thrown out,” manager Rob Thomson said in St. Louis two weeks ago after Harper’s last ejection. “I don’t think you have to say anything to Harp. He understands. He’s very emotional, he’s a huge competitor, but at the end of the night, he understands the game and he understands how important he is.”

Harper walked in his first plate appearance. He’s hitting .295/.402/.502 on the season. Despite going a career-long 166 plate appearances without a home run early in the summer, his numbers are in line with where they’ve been overall as a Phillie.

He should have more time off his feet this weekend at Citi Field when the Phillies end their season against the Mets. Thomson is giving his starters rest each day with the Phils having already clinched their specific spot as the top wild card. Bryson Stott, Brandon Marsh and Johan Rojas had the night off Thursday.

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