Washington Nationals: Atlanta Braves Hitting Bryce Harper A Clown Move

By James Williams
Evan Habeeb USA Today Sports

Look, the Atlanta Braves are going to win the NL East title. Now that the Washington Nationals are 14.5 games out of first place with 50 games left in the season, it is over.

However, it is not enough that the Braves are winning — they have to act like punks in the process.

No one on this or any other planet will mistake Braves’starting pitcher Julio Teheran for say John Smoltz or Gregg Maddux. So last night, after Bryce  Harper homered in the third inning off Teheran, what followed was one of the most bush-league moves of the 2013 season.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Teheran hit Harper with a fastball. Harper yelled back as he walked to first base and both benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. Home plate umpire Joe West warned both benches and the Braves went on to win 2-1, making it two straight over the Nationals.

The point of contention here is this: why did Teheran hit Harper?

Of course, it was because he broke another one of those silly, unwritten rules of baseball. Unwritten rule number 105.B “A batter should never show up the pitcher.” For the record, Harper took  23.66 seconds to run around the bases, according to TaterTrotTracker.com. (yes, that is a real website)

However, on Monday night, the Braves’ Justin Upton homered off Tyler Clippard and took a slow 27.36 seconds to round the bases. No one on the Nationals saw fit to plunk one of the Braves in payback for Upton’s antics — they just kept on playing.

As is the case these days, Twitter blew up within seconds of Harper being hit.

It started with the two teams going after each other. The Braves tweeted “Clown move bro” after the benches cleared. The Nationals account responded: “Which part, giving up the home run, or drilling the 20-year-old on the first pitch his next time up?”

Retired Braves star Chipper Jones, who became friends with Harper last season, also chimed in on Twitter with tough words for Harper: “Don’t walk off homers and u won’t get hit!”

Wise words for someone who stood at home plate and enjoyed some monster home runs at old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. By the way, Chipper said this morning that he is going to cut down, if not stop his tweeting after last night’s brush-up.

No one gets mad if a pitcher strikes out a batter at the end of an inning and lets out a yell, pounding a fist into their glove as they head to the dugout. Let the hitter enjoy watching the ball leave the park and the next time he comes up — strike him out.

That, after all, is the real revenge.


Rant Sports columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.-

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