Bryce Harper, the 19-year-old phenom of the Washington Nationals, is getting a lot of heat for a tantrum that he threw yesterday in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. After making an out in the seventh inning, he erupted in the dugout and smashed his bat against the dugout wall. Unfortunately for Harper, the broken pieces flew back and cut his face. The injury bled badly until he received ten stitches to close the wound. While Harper's accident received a lot of attention, he wasn't the first player (or the last) to injure himself in a tantrum involving a bat.
For Colorado Rockies fans, the most well-known event similar to this occurred in 2008. At the time, Troy Tulowitzki was in his second full season as the starting shortstop. Fans had high expectations for the young man after a scintillating rookie season in 2007 that saw him finish second in Rookie of the Year voting. However, injuries hampered Tulowitzki most of the 2008 season. He missed 45 games due to a very serious thigh injury. Then, shortly after his return from the disabled list, he injured himself slamming the bat in the ground. The bat shattered, cutting his hand deeply enough to require 16 stitches and put him on the 15-day disabled list.
Tulowitzki was remorseful after the injury, calling it "stupid" and vowing not to do it again. While he hasn't hurt himself again in the same way, he hasn't stopped breaking bats in anger. Another Colorado Rockies player, Carlos Gonzalez, also has an issue with slamming his bat to the ground. He also seems to use a bat that breaks fairly easy. Hopefully he won't end up hurting himself the way his teammate did.
Harper has been under the microscope since his arrival in the big leagues a month ago. While he started out hot, his average has cooled all the way down to .233. On the night that he injured himself, he went 0-5 at the plate with three strikeouts. Certainly frustrating for the young phenom, but something that he has to learn to deal with. Getting ten stitches and having to sit down for a few games will be a lesson to him. Hopefully he will learn something from this before he suffers a long stint on the disabled list like Tulowitzki.
Julie has followed baseball her entire life. While she has lived in Denver for the past 11 years, she has also followed Bryce Harper's career since he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated three years ago.