Bryce Harper ejected after arguing balls and strikes

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Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper was ejected from Monday night’s game in New York against the Mets after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Mark Carlson in the fourth inning. Harper was called out on strikes for the first out of the inning and seemed particularly annoyed with the strike two call. Later in the inning, Carlson called a high strike on César Hernández. Harper barked at Carlson from the dugout and was immediately ejected. Manager Gabe Kapler stormed out of the dugout in defense of his superstar and somehow did not get ejected as well. At one point, Harper nudged Kapler into Carlson, which might end up resulting in a heftier fine for Harper.

Carlson called a high strike for strike two on Harper in his first at-bat in the first inning as well, which might have influenced his displeasure with the strike zone. Both that and the pitch to Hernández were clearly balls.

Matt Gelb of The Athletic notes that Harper is the first Phillies player ejected from a game since Justin De Fratus on June 16, 2015. It makes more sense considering the Phillies have played few meaningful games between 2015-18, but is still astounding nevertheless.

Roman Quinn replaced Harper in center field, batting third. Harper finishes the night 0-for-2 with a pair of strikeouts.

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.