And the clip that started making the rounds on Wednesday night via Adam Kilgore's WaPo blog doesn't disappoint. After taking a few steps toward first for an assume walk, the Washington Nationals farmhand furiously wheels around and confronts the umpire who called strike three instead. Harper gets the heave-ho for his initial reaction of slamming his helmet down, then gets right up in umpire Max Guyll's grill. Harper's manager on the Harrisburg Senators and the first-base umpire end up separating the two, but not before a fan captures the YouTube-ready incident on his camera.
For the "Bryce Harper is the next LeBron James" narrative, the video had more than enough ammunition. What it didn't have was any context. According to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Harper was far from the first player to grouse over Guyll's strike zone:
Sixteen of the 18 players who started Wednesday night's Eastern League game between Richmond and Harrisburg weren't too happy with the size of home plate umpire Max Guyll's strike zone. Body language, stare downs and brief post-strikeout arguments easily revealed as much through the first seven innings at Metro Bank Park.
Does any of that excuse Harper's overheated reaction? Nope.
But it does lend a little more insight as to why an 18-year-old with a lot of growing up to do might act that way. Of course, in this day and age, context and benefit of the doubt are two luxuries that Harper will have to operate without.
The sooner he can build that filter, the better it will be for him in the long run.
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