By In Stuff

The Tower of Papelbon


From NBC SportsWorld:

What happened Sunday in Washington between Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper (and, by extension, GM Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams), well, that was not a family issue. That was not even a dysfunctional family issue. No, that was a PDS — public display of stupidity — and peek into the inner workings of a collective nervous breakdown.

Choke’s on Them

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18 Responses to The Tower of Papelbon

    • Owen says:

      I think a lot of that sentiment can be chalked up to Harper being a lightning rod and a general lack of popularity/envy/whatever around the majors. Other players just don’t like him. But he ran out the ball as much as he needed to (first base), and if anyone was going to confront him, let alone a recently required reliever who insists on only pitching as a closer, they should have done it in the clubhouse and not in front of the camera.

      • Ian says:

        I agree with you on Harper’s hustle. But, as Nitkowski points out, Harper was the first one to play things our publicly, Paps was returning the favor.

        • Owen says:

          I call it fake toughness on the part of Papelbon. Should Harper have made those comments after the Orioles game? Maybe not. But was the response childish and even more unwarranted? Absolutely. Papelbon is a 34-year-old man who behaved like someone half that age. Disgraceful.

    • Interesting read but I, for one, am getting a little sick of these self-appointed stewards of the game and their long list of unwritten rules that need to enforced by assault (with either a beanball or a physical attack). We’ve heard this garbage throughout baseball history, down from John McGraw lamenting that people didn’t try to kill umpires anymore to people lamenting that no one tries to cripple anyone at an All-Star game anymore. It’s a bunch of pseudo-tough-guy garbage which is, thankfully, on its way out of the game.

      • Ian says:

        I disagree. I think the game is better b/c of this stuff. We still celebrate Ryan’s skirmish with Ventura. The Red Sox/Yankees series in the 2000s were full of HBP and dugouts emptying which made the game more entertaining. I think a lot of people want baseball without the human factor, which is one of the interesting parts about it.

  1. stmiller02 says:

    I’m more shocked that people are surprised that two complete A’holes got into a fight.

  2. David Eberly says:

    More John Mayberry, Sr. stories, please.

  3. Paul Zummo says:

    It’s not really a big deal in the end, because the Mets really can’t keep this momentum going, and the Nats are more talented and poised to catch them aaaaaany day now.


    Just teasing. I love your work Joe.

  4. Marc Schneider says:

    I think people are exaggerating this. Papelbon is an asshole but it’s the end of the season and they are frustrated. That’s not the reason the Nats have struggled. But Papelbon has sucked since he came to the Nats. I mean, the 1977 Yankees had Reggie going after Billy Martin (or vice versa) in the dugout and they won the World Series. It was pretty stupid but ballplayers aren’t known for being Rhodes Scholars. I’m not sure what the difference is between the McRae/Mayberry story and this, except that McRae waited until they were away from the public. So it’s ok to punch out your teammate as long as no one sees it? I guess Harper and Papelbon won’t be going out to dinner any time soon, but so what?

    As for Nitkowski’s point, I certainly haven’t played or been in a clubhouse. But Papelbon seems to me to be the last guy that should be calling anyone out, considering that he refused to go anywhere he couldn’t close. Talk about a prima donna. Certainly, Harper is one too in many cases, but it’s not as if Harper never hustles. There are times when he doesn’t but it seems to be mostly out of frustration. Just saying it’s the clubhouse and I haven’t played isn’t sufficient. That’s a catchall that could apply to cops, soldiers, the NSA, almost anyone. It’s simply a way of saying you have no right to an opinion.

    • invitro says:

      +1. Joe overreacted in his post. Washington may start rebuilding, but that won’t have anything to do with this event.

      • Marc Schneider says:

        The worst part was Williams’ utter incompetence in dealing with it. That is likely, among other things, to cost him his job.

  5. Jack Hyland says:

    Just think, if Harper actually hustled a little more, he might be in the running for the Triple Crown…oh, wait…never mind. We are talking about a guy who should be a senior in college, for crying out loud. And all this stuff about Harper being universally disliked is nonsense. Somebody voted him to the All Star game 3 times now. Papelbon is a knucklehead, that is no secret.

  6. Josh says:

    Can someone with a background in sports journalism please stop telling John Mayberry stories. The guy was arrested multiple times for beating up his wife. Really beating up his wife. Putting her in the hospital. My father in law was the arresting officer, multiple times. Stop putting this POS on a pedestal.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Josh for your comment. I love reading Joe’s writing, but essentially saying family violence is okay as long as it not in public. Huh??? Why is violence okay in a sport like baseball anyway?

      I understand violence exists, but it I find it hopeful and courageous the people who strive for non-violent solutions. I think if the commish had any courage he would suspend players who participate in any type of violence.

    • Brett Alan says:

      Mayberry should have gone to jail for that “fantastic story”. I mean, really–see, he physically assaulted another player, and that guy was scared to pitch to him the rest of his career! What a guy!

  7. MCD says:

    I have two points that has driven me crazy by both sides of this debate.

    1. Why does it have to be one guy is wrong and the other guy is “right”. Isn’t there a certain amount of jack-assery by both parties here? If we absolutely *have* to assign guilt, my guess would probably be about 80% on Papelbon and 20% on Harper (more for publicly criticizing a team-mate than any perceived lack of hustle), but I am okay with whatever percentages people want to attribute. I just don’t see why chastising one means that we have to exonerate the other.
    2. An over-whelming number of news outlets erroneously reported this as “Papelbon chokes Harper for not hustling” (and this is continually being repeated by many pundits). This is lazy at best, and lying at worst. While the fly ball was the impetus that started the on-field portion of the chain of events, Papelbon didn’t choke Harper *just* because he didn’t run out of the box immediately. That would be crazy, even by Papelbonian standards. Papelbon confronted Harper and the discussion escalated very quickly, but it was that exchange that caused Papelbon to get physical. Obviously I couldn’t hear what was said and Papelbon might have been the first to swear, the first to get personal, the only one to say inflammatory comments (though I doubt it), and how they got from “You have to run that out” to “I WILL KICK YOUR (bleep)” so quickly might be totally on him, but the fact remains, whatever was said, *that* was what triggered him to get the physical. Not saying it was sufficient reason, just stating that it was the reason.

  8. Andy says:

    What if Harper had actually won the fight or gotten in a good jab at Pap’s nose, instead of being on the losing end of some sort of choke maneuver? Does that change the narrative at all? Instead of two jack asses, Harper becomes Hal McCrae.

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