Bryce Harper Charges Mound After Wild Pitch by Hunter Strickland

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Kyle Hoeppner and Logan Winser

On a sunny Memorial Day afternoon at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, the Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants, 3-0. But what will be remembered from the ball game is not the run scoring plays, but the brawl between Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper and Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland.

Arrowhead senior and varsity baseball player, Matt Brockish, says he was stunned.

“The situation escalated in a matter of seconds.” said Brockish. “I couldn’t believe Harper went after Strickland for getting hit by the pitch.”

Strickland, once Harper came up to bat, threw a pitch square at his leg. Escalating the situation further, Harper charged the mound, threw his helmet, and began throwing punches at Strickland, who also had some of his own.

Both benches cleared after the two began their fist fight during the top of the eighth inning with players piling up on the pitching mound. After breaking up the fight, both players were had to be restrained by teammates. Strickland had four of his teammates holding him back.

The two players, in result of the fight, have yet to find out how many games they will be suspended.

Harper, 24, won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2012. He has also tied for the most home runs hit in the National League during the 2015 Major League Baseball season and was awarded NL Most Valuable Player in that same year. Strickland, 28, has been part of the Giants organization since 2014, which is the same year they won their last World Series.

A possible reason for the confrontation on Monday goes back to the 2014 postseason where Washington faced San Francisco in the National League Divisional Series. In this game, Harper hit two home runs off of Strickland in that series.

After three years, Strickland faced Harper for the first time. Strickland retaliated by throwing a pitch square at the leg of Harper. Escalating the situation further, Harper charged the mound, threw his helmet, and began throwing punches at Strickland, who also had some of his own.

Both benches cleared with players piling up on the pitching mound. After breaking up the fight, both players were restrained by teammates. Strickland had around five of his teammates holding him back.

Harper had things to say about Strickland and the brawl following the game. Harper talked to CBS Sports’ Mike Axisa about Stricklands retaliation regarding the 2014 NLDS. He said the following:

“They won the World Series that year. I don’t even think he should be thinking about what happened in the first round.He should be thinking about wearing that ring home every single night. I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens. That’s a spot where it’s just not relevant. That was three years ago, a thousand days I guess you could say. I don’t know why he’s still thinking about it.”

On charging the mound:

“I don’t want to go on a baseball field and try to fight somebody. Especially when it’s somebody that it’s in the past. It’s so in the past that it’s not even relevant anymore. You can’t hesitate (after getting hit). You either go to first base or go after him. I decided to go after him.”

The two teams face off again as they play their second game between each other in this regular season series, starting at 9:15 pm Central Time, May 30th.