Bryce Harper on Phillies fans: “Hopefully they don’t throw batteries at me”

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Before we get to Bryce Harper’s quote, something Cole Hamels said to Bob Nightengale of USA Today regarding the Nationals and Harper is wroth some scrutiny:

“Yeah, I accidentally stirred the pot,” Hamels told USA TODAY Sports. “It was unintentional. But that’s just the way it happens sometimes.”

OK, now it’s unintentional? So … you weren’t practicing Old School, Prestigious Baseball after all? Whatever, dude. For what it’s worth, Hamels does admit that his aim of plunking Harper backfired and that Harper showed him what he was made of, so I guess there’s peace on that front.

But maybe not with the fans, as Harper is stirring the pot himself:

Harper, 19, seems to know, and relish, what might await him in Philly. “Hopefully I get a couple boos,” he said. “I’m excited to get up there and play. Hopefully they don’t throw any batteries at me.”

I wish someone would tell Harper how this works. How it’s wrong, wrong, wrong to stereotype Philly fans like that. Yes, they’ve thrown batteries at people and have committed all manner of fan asshattery one can think of, but when they do it, you’re not supposed to say anything about it. You’re supposed to say “hey, that’s an unfair stereotype,” and then note how sometimes fans of other teams do bad things too. Oh, and when fans of other teams do things you’re supposed to jump out of your skin to say “Can you imagine what would happen if that happened in Philly? The haters would be all over us!”

But under no circumstances are you to suggest that Philly fans may behave in ways they have behaved in the past and, if they do, you should never ever point it out, because that makes you a hater.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.