When the Phillies traded closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals in late July, it’s a safe bet no one in Philadelphia was crying any tears. Papelbon had never endeared himself to the city or the fans and the only thing most people agreed the mercurial pitcher had going for him was the fact he was so good at what he did.
But after what happened this weekend, even that may not be enough to redeem Papelbon in the eyes of baseball fans everywhere.
With the Nationals eliminated from the playoffs and the team starting to self-destruct, things became almost surreal on Sunday as the Nationals wrapped up their series against none other than the Phillies in Washington, D.C.
Outfielder Bryce Harper had just popped up in the eighth inning and was headed back to the dugout when he and Papelbon began to have words. Things became more and more heated until finally punches started to be thrown and Papelbon actually reached for Harper’s throat.
Really, it needs to be seen to be believed.
And what made the whole situation even weirder was that after the two were separated, Harper went to the locker room but Papelbon actually headed out to the mound to pitch the ninth inning!
Things only got worse from there for the man affectionately known as “General Soreness” as he gave up a two-run homer to Andres Blanco and then, with the bases loaded, Papelbon hit Odubel Herrera and was promptly pulled from the game to a chorus of boos from the remaining fans at Nationals Park.
The Phillies would go on to win 12-5 and after the game, both Harper and Papelbon said they had talked and moved on from the ugly incident.
But what really blew my mind was that Papelbon had even been sent out to pitch in the first place. He had just attacked a teammate in the dugout and Nationals manager Matt Williams just sent him out to the hill like nothing happened? Are you kidding me?
At the very least Papelbon should have been sent to the locker room, if not ejected from the game all together and suspended for the rest of the season. The fact Williams did nothing is clearly just another reason why this Nationals team fell apart down the stretch and has lost five of their last six games.
To think how much money the Phillies and former GM Ruben Amaro Jr. paid this piece of garbage over the last few years boggles the mind. Thank God Amaro finally was able to unload him and his attitude before he could infect the young core of talent the Phillies are currently nurturing.
The Phillies return to Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Park on Monday to begin the first of two home stands that will bring the 2015 season to a close.