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Bryce Harper does not #RespectTheA

Aug 10, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT

bryce harper atlanta getty Getty Images

If you weren’t watching baseball into the wee hours of Sunday morning, you might have missed some Bryce Harper drama at Turner Field. Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains

What’s the problem with the ‘A’ Bryce Harper?

The Nationals outfielder dragged his foot across the Braves emblem in the dirt behind home plate – in a clearly intentional move – in each of his first three trips to the batter’s box in Saturday night’s game against the Braves.

Harper has been roundly booed in each plate appearance during the series. He apparently chose to take the lack of southern hospitality out on the Georgia clay.

Here’s a Vine of Harper doing the deed, via user Atlanta Sports Guy:

That sure looks intentional, but Harper denied doing it on purpose after the game. “That’s the last thing on my mind when I’m coming to the plate,” he told James Wagner of the Washington Post. “I have no idea.”

The people running the Braves’ official Twitter account took notice …

The Nats and Braves wrap up their weekend series on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Retaliation, perhaps?

  1. binarymath - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    The late Sparky Anderson used to take a hop step to avoid stepping on the baseline when he walked to or from the mound. Was he disrespecting the dirt, over-respecting the chalk, or just being superstitious?

    For every “unwritten rule” in baseball lore, there are probably 10 quirky superstitions by players.

    Baseball made it through its first 125 years or so without on-field logos. Maybe it’s the marketing departments of the MLB teams who are “not respecting the game” – whatever the hell that means.

    In any event, if that’s the only takeaway, people missed an interesting matchup of 2 teams trying to develop some consistency as they make their stretch run toward the playoffs. Both teams had early hot streaks and have been frustratingly inconsistent over the last several weeks. Will either team hit their stride again before the playoffs, or will they limp to early exits?

    THAT story is much more interesting than whether Bryce Harper is guilty of aggravated assault on, well, a patch of dirt…

  2. pete2112 - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:51 AM

    Nothing but class, Bryce. I’m sure all of you Bryce apologist will be out in droves.

  3. theageofquarrel - Aug 11, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Oh noes the world is gonna end!!!!!!!

  4. pete2112 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    And for Bryce to deny it goes a long way into showing his lack of maturity.

  5. mobetta42 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    I’m a Braves fan and think this is a non-issue. Harper is welcome to drag his feet in the dirt at Turner as much as he wants as long as the Braves keep beating the Nationals.

    I’m glad Alex Wood didn’t throw at him. Watching Alex Wood strike out 12 batters is far more satisfying than seeing a HBP.

    Bottom line – Harper is mad because he hates losing and the Nats can’t seem to find a way to win a series against the Braves.

    • pete2112 - Aug 11, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      I agree it’s a non-issue in the overall scheme of things but he should just own up to it.

    • teejayss - Aug 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

      the Nats found a way to be in first place,though.

  6. teejayss - Aug 11, 2014 at 11:28 AM

    hey Mobetta42.. do u happen to know whos in first place by 3 1/2 in the NL East by any chance, genius?

  7. numbskull111 - Aug 11, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    • snerdblurter - Aug 11, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      thanks for posting this – not that this stupid story deserves any extra air time, but it would be nice if HBT ran a brief follow-up (ahem).

    • tommyshih - Aug 11, 2014 at 8:45 PM

      numbskull, he is covering his hands with the more moist and tackier dirt that is used in the mound logos. There is a practical (and legal) purpose to what Santana is doing. I think you’ll find he does it whenever there is a logo with the darker dirt available. He’s not doing it out of spite and then lying about his intentions afterwards like Harper is doing.

      • numbskull111 - Aug 12, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        He should stop. He is 3-4 on the road, where the “tacky” logos are available…and 8 – 2 at home, where there is no “tacky” logo.

        However, I do agree and think Bryce should have just owned up to it.

      • tommyshih - Aug 12, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        Agree that it’s not doing Santana any favors from a results standpoint. But baseball players are weird with their routines.

  8. eastcoastboltfan - Sep 17, 2014 at 8:33 AM

    The “A” hasn’t been relevant since the ’90s.

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