Matt Williams on Bryce Harper’s ejection: “He needs to stay in the baseball game”

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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was ejected from Friday’s game against the Mets in the top of the 11th inning after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Jerry Meals. You can watch here to see how events unfolded.

Harper was angry about the strike zone all night and had a legitimate gripe in this case, as the called third strike was outside (hat-tip Mark Zuckerman of CSNMA.com). However, he let his frustration get the best of him in the situation and got right in Meals’ face. Meals gave him the opportunity to walk away, but he eventually had no choice but to eject him from the ballgame.

Harper’s ejection put the Nationals in a bit of a bind, as they ended up having to use Dan Uggla at first base for the first time in his career and Ryan Zimmerman in left field. It didn’t have an impact on the finish, as the Mets won 2-1 in the bottom of the 12th on a walk-off homer from Wilmer Flores, but Nationals manager Matt Williams told James Wagner of the Washington Post that Harper’s actions were unacceptable given the circumstances.

“He needs to stay in the baseball game,” said Williams after the game, visibly frustrated, perhaps by the 2-1 walk-off loss, Harper’s ejection or that two relievers were unavailable. “He needs to stay in the baseball game.”

Harper said after the game that he was ” sticking up for my team and myself,” but he does a lot more good for his team when he’s on the field as opposed to sitting in the clubhouse. Williams said he plans to remind him to keep his cool, which is important with the Nationals playing some crucial games down the stretch.