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Ejected and suspended, Bryce Harper's college career likely over

Jun 3, 2010, 11:42 AM EDT

Next week Bryce Harper will be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but last night the 17-year-old phenom may have seen his junior college career come to a premature end by getting ejected for arguing a called third strike.
Unhappy with a fifth-inning strikeout during the National Junior College World Series, the soon-to-be Washington National took his bat and drew a line in the batter’s box where he thought the pitch crossed, at which point the home plate umpire tossed him.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the ejection would normally carry a one-game suspension, but because Harper was also ejected once during the regular season the suspension is increased to two games. At most his Southern Nevada team could have three games remaining this season, but they’ll have to win twice without Harper to make it to the junior college championship game and have him available.
In the grand scheme of things a player being ejected from a game for arguing balls and strikes is certainly not a big deal, but Harper’s maturity and makeup have long been in question. His coach, Tim Chambers, naturally defended Harper, saying he was wrongfully ejected by “an umpire with an attitude” and calling it “an awfully quick trigger … on a stage like this, in this environment.”
I’ll say this about Harper: In terms of the hit his reputation will take from the ejection and suspension, he sure picked a great time to have a run-in with an umpire.
UPDATE: Jonathan Mayo of has video of the ejection, so you can judge for yourself.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 3, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    DAMN!!! That ball looked about 4 inches off the plate. Looked like a call Eric Gregg would have made in the 1997 NLCS!!! I’m surprised that Harper just continued to walk back to the dugout after his ejection.

  2. J Rose - Jun 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Way to go out on a high note, kid. Looks like he’s watching the big leaguers too much.

  3. trampslikeus - Jun 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Why does this guy keep reminding me of Ryan Leaf?

  4. MN Mike - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    I just watched the video and that ball so outside it was in the other batter’s box. There was no sound, but it didn’t seem like he reacted that badly. To me it looked like that ump was looking for a little recognition, or maybe harper was talking to him the whole game or something. It is also taken out of context. Maybe that ump was giving that pitch the whole game, but I doubt it.
    Overall I don’t think there should be much made of this, except that the league he is in needs to lighten up on suspensions when someone is ejected.

  5. Joe - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    It looked like a lousy call, but I don’t think it’s a quick trigger. Showing up the ump like that will get you immediately tossed out of any game.

  6. mike in MN - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Bad call, but you shouldn’t show up an umpire like that. He is 17….so reacting like a kid shouldn’t be held against him…he is a kid. He just needs to learn and grow from it. It certainly wouldn’t make me doubt him as a player.

  7. Jack O'Connor - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    The call was wrong but so was Harper, who was clearly disrespectful. He deserved the toss.

  8. Daniel - Jun 3, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    It was a TERRIBLE call, but you can’t show up an umpire like that, especially if it involves flinging dirt in his general direction (which probably wasn’t Harper’s intent, but it happened when he drew the line). I think the ejection was merited.

  9. Joey B - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    I agree, it was the dirt that came up that did him in. I think he’d have been tossed in the pros also for drawing a line, but once the dirt went flying towards the umpire, he was definitely gone.

  10. Steve A - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    I heard he really raised the ire of the ump when he diagrammed Jim Joyce’s missed call at first base in the dirt.

  11. Dustin - Jun 3, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    drawing a line in the dirt is an automatic ejection in college baseball, but the umpire was clearly a showboat with the over emphasis on the strike 3 call and the ejection

  12. fernando - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I agree. I find it interesting that umps don’t like players to show them up, but have no problem with that strike three call. How is that not showing up the player?

  13. Vin - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    Ryan Leaf? Really? Reeeallllyyy?

  14. Rob - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    The problem isn’t the ejection which was warranted, but a 2 game suspension for 2 ejections in a season?? That’s a little extreme. Make it like the NBA, where the technicals reset for the playoffs or something.

  15. Dan - Jun 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    Ouch, if the nationals can use questions about his character to save a few million dollars THEY WILL.
    Tough luck for Harper as he may have just lost a few mill…

  16. DM - Jun 5, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    What is this umpire’s name?
    Because you have a responsibility to call the game correctly. When a pitch is more than foot outside (it was in the other batter’s box), to call it a strike means one of three things:
    1. You’re blind and have no business being an ump.
    2. Someone paid you to throw the game; bribery is wrong.
    3. When wanted to show up the kid. Period. You make the new worst call, this kid has a temper, and you get you’re response.
    There is no other justification for this. Either he’s blind, doesn’t know the rules of baseball, or something unseemly.
    Respect is a two way street. No one would have made the stink about Joyce had it been a true bang bang play. When a call is THAT BAD, it disrespects the player, the game, and the fan who pays a lot of money to watch. MLB umpires get plays right 99 percent of the time. It shows how frail their skin is when they refuse to be challenged in any way, shape, or form.

  17. Gman - Jun 6, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    The ejection was NOT the big story in the game. Watch the segment below (it was also reported in the local newspaper covering the game)at minute 24 where Harper steps on the first baseman’s foot while he is stretching for the ball on a double play relay. Those in the know at the game say it was clearly intentional. That tells volumes about this kid’s character and shows the 3rd strike call (even though it was clearly a ball) episode is a pattern of behavior.

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