Nover’s View: Suspend Strickland not Harper

On May 30, 2017, in MLB, by Stephen

Bryce Harper undoubtedly is going to draw a suspension for charging the mound after Hunter Strickland intentionally hit him with a pitch Monday.

Strickland said he didn’t plunk Harper on purpose. He was just trying to pitch inside. Yeah, right. A major league pitcher doesn’t throw at a spot where it’s impossible for the batter to get out of the way if he isn’t trying to hit him. That was the case here as Harper took the pitch on his hip.

This isn’t slow pitch softball. Harper could have gotten hurt. And for what? So Strickland could feel better and sooth his irrational, unhinged grude from when Harper hit a pair of homers off him during the 2014 playoffs. That was three years ago and the Giants beat the Nationals during that playoff series.

Taking a shot on Harper was a punk move by Strickland. He’s the only one who should be suspended in this incident for purposely hitting a batter.

Now I’m not against pitchers throwing at hitters. Obviously, no head shots. I don’t even think they should go after batters if one of them broke one of the many unwritten baseball rules like enjoying yourself too much after hitting a home run, or doing a bat flip ala Jose Bautista. But intimidation and retaliation are part of the game.

Harper is the Nationals’ best player. It’s going to be interesting to see if the Nationals try to take revenge on the Giants today by throwing at Buster Posey, or another one of their better hitters.

The Nationals don’t have the reputation as a team that starts trouble, or throws at batters. But their manager, Dusty Baker, is old school. If the Nationals don’t strike back, they run the risk of being labled soft.

If I’m in charge of baseball, I’m calling Baker and proposing this compromise. No suspension for Harper, but in return for that Baker’s promise that none of his pitchers will intentionally throw at any Giants.


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