Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon took blame for his part in an altercation with outfielder Bryce Harper during Sunday’s eventual loss to the Phillies. Per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, Papelbon said, “I’m in the wrong there.”
However, as Janes adds, Papelbon also said that it’s important to “play the game the right way”. Papelbon was ostensibly irritated at Harper for failing to fully run out a fly ball in the bottom of the eighth inning, when the two teams were tied at 4-4.
Insinuating that the team’s best player — the runaway MVP of the National League who’s putting up an historically-great season — doesn’t know how to “play the game the right way” is questionable at best. It’s even more questionable considering that Papelbon has only been a part of the Nationals’ culture for two months.
Manager Matt Williams didn’t have much to say about the incident. As John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported, Williams said, “Certainly there’s a lot of testosterone flowing…This was a family issue, and we’ll deal with it that way.”
On sending Papelbon out to the mound in a 4-4 game immediately after fighting with Harper, Williams said, “It was a tied game. He’s our closer,” via Buzzfeed’s Lindsey Adler.