DENVER (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper was ejected from Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Colorado after charging at the Rockies’ dugout following the last out of the top of the seventh inning, setting off an altercation that cleared both teams’ benches and bullpens.
Harper appeared to respond to Colorado reliever Jake Bird, who clapped a hand against his glove and said something toward the Philadelphia dugout.
“I get emotion,” Harper said. “I understand getting fired up for an inning and stuff like that, but once you make it about a team or make it about yourself and the other team, that’s when I’ve kind of got a problem with it.”
Harper was initially restrained by Rockies catcher Elias Díaz, then Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan prevented the two-time NL MVP from entering a group of players and coaches gathered near the first-base line.
“After that point, I went out there just to go,” Harper said. “J.T. (Realmuto) was right behind me. Taijuan (Walker), same thing. I appreciate my teammates for coming out with me and doing that. It was the heat of the moment. Once we got out there, (Bird) just flew into the dugout and went away. Nobody really saw him after he did what he did.”
“A guy yelling in your dugout? That shouldn’t happen,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Flat-out, that shouldn’t happen.”
Harper returned to the NL champion Phillies on May 2 after recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Bird was also ejected.
“I get a little emotional on the mound sometimes,” said Bird, who added his comments toward the dugout weren’t directed at anyone in particular. “It’s a good team. It was a big moment. I got a little emotional out there. They took exception to it.”
“He’s a great player,” Bird said of Harper. “He plays with emotion. I love that he plays with emotion. He’s a player I look up to.”
Thomson had been thrown out the previous inning after arguing with plate umpire Ryan Wills over a called third strike on Kyle Schwarber.
“You never want to see your star players get thrown out of a game, but he’s protecting his teammates,” Thomson said of Harper. “That’s what this group does. They protect each other, they fight for each other and I’m proud of them for it. He’s an emotional guy and he was sticking up for his teammates.”