Fake Outrage: Phillies fans and media outlets fume over Bryce Harper’s sixth inning at-bat against the Milwaukee Brewers
Bryce Harper had one of the more bizarre at-bats of his career and really in the entire league last night in the bottom of the sixth inning in a 3-3 ballgame against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with the game tied 3-3, Harper took five straight pitches against Brewers pitcher Hoby Milner and, on pitch six, stared at a fastball down the center of the plate, striking out in the at-bat before walking back into the dugout.
Bryce Harper Bizarre At-Bat vs Brewers Pitcher Hoby Milner
To a certain extent, a part of me does understand why people were so upset with Harper. It’s a 3-3 ballgame and Harper is at the plate with zero outs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
We are at home in Citizens Bank Park and when you have a player like Harper, who has been on fire during the current Phillies’ home stand, you really don’t want him at the plate standing there and taking pitches.
That’s fine. I totally agree with that line of thinking.
Before the at-bat was even over, Phillies fans flooded social media trying to figure out what they just watched from Bryce Harper. It was extremely uncharacteristic of their star player, even more so in that situation, to have an at-bat like the one in the video above.
The overreaction to Harper’s at-bat remained heavy through the night and honestly, into the morning, as fans started commenting the most ridiculous takes on Twitter and Facebook.
Comments on the Bryce Harper At-Bat Video from TLL Facebook
“Bryce Harper conceded the at-bat”
“There’s no reason for this! You get paid the big money to play! Swing the freaking bat!”
“Harper is going to claim mental illness for this.”
“Sell the team, Harper just doomed the entire season.”
“Bryce Harper wants out of Philly. No heart! He’s checked out!”
“This was a statement because his teammates are watching too many pitches.”
“What in the actual hell?!”
“Any other player would be BENCHED”
“Harper just made himself available at the trade deadline.”
“Send him to Lehigh Valley!”
“Bench him and cut his salary. He needs to swing!”
“Harper wants to move to Tennessee where a new MLB expansion team will be so he can get a tax cut. This is a sign of things to come.”
What Probably Happened…
As Conway stated and which I absolutely agree with, the likely answer here is that Bryce Harper didn’t think that Hoby Milner was going to be able to throw him a strike so in what could have been the most badass way to draw a walk while actually standing in the batters box, Harper just stood there forcing Milner to actually do get baseballs over the plate.
The part that everyone is glossing over as they shout on social media about the at-bat, making ridiculous takes like “Bench him” or “Harper wants to be traded” is the fact that Harper forced Milner to throw six pitches to him while not even moving.
It almost worked too.
Again, Milner tossed six total pitches and Harper worked a full count before a baseball was thrown directly down the middle of the plate to give Milner the strikeout.
Think about this: If Harper did draw a walk there, almost everyone would be celebrating how badass it was and he would be going viral for all the right reasons.
Unfortunately, that’s just now how the cookie crumbled for Harper. Not going to “harp” over it too much. Plus, he roped a single to centerfield in the bottom of the ninth inning in his next at-bat.
Quick Reminder: Bryce Harper said this. I would die for this man (in a Phillies jersey)
Up Next for the Phillies
The Phillies are 52-43 on the year and 6-4 over their last 10 games. They sit 9.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves and hold a half game lead on the Miami Marlins.
In the NL Wild Card, the Diamondbacks and Giants hold the top two spots (+1.5) with the Phillies lining on to the third and final playoff ticket, a half game up on the Fish.
Taijuan Walker will face Corbin Burnes today at 12:35 PM down at Citizens Bank Park.