Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper can't take a step these days without someone watching him. And apparently people — several thousands of them, in fact — were watching very closely on Saturday night, as he caught the attention and drew the ire of Atlanta Braves fans for repeatedly and seemingly intentionally scuffing the "A" logo that sits behind home plate at Turner Field.
It was clearly visible there, and the Braves broadcast immediately picked up on it, noting that Harper had done the same thing in each of his first two plate appearances. The commentary likely fed into the anger that would explode on social media, including a response from the Braves Twitter account.
Here's a little more from Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
The Nationals outfielder dragged his foot across the Braves emblem in the dirt behind home plate - in a clearly intentional move - in each of his first three trips to the batter’s box in Saturday night’s game against the Braves.
Harper has been roundly booed in each plate appearance during the series. He apparently chose to take the lack of southern hospitality out on the Georgia clay. He kicked at the Braves’ ‘A’ emblem on his way into the left-hand batter’s box once, twice and three times.
For what it's worth, Harper denied scuffing the logo on purpose.
Bryce Harper says he wasn't trying to kick Braves' A logo. "That's the last thing on my mind when I'm coming to the plate. I have no idea."— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) August 10, 2014
But we all know better.
Harper's actions looked deliberate and were likely done to get the response that's happening right this moment. It's straight out of the pro-wrestling handbook under the category of villain, where it's explained how to easily incite responses from the crowd. He knows the boos will be even louder on Sunday night, and we're guessing he'll eat them up.
That being said, is it the most mature thing to do? Not at all.
Is it disrespectful? Yes, to some extent. Stepping or celebrating on an opposing teams logo is largely viewed as taking a cheap shot or showing disrespect, although not everyone necessarily agrees with that line of thinking.
But is it really a big deal?
That answer might actually come later on Sunday when we see how everyone involved responds.
As for Saturday's game, although the Nationals won 4-1 in 11 innings, Braves fans did get the last laugh on Harper. While running the bases in the sixth inning, he lost track of the outs and ended up getting doubled off in embarrassing fashion on Wilson Ramos' fly ball to center field.
Perhaps that was karma stepping in to even things out. Maybe it's true that Harper didn't have his head all the way in the game and was affected by the boos. Or maybe he just picked the worst possible time to have a brain cramp.
We'll let you decide on that one.
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