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Bryce Harper gets ejected after arguing balls and strikes

Harper had a problem with Mike Estabrook’s strike zone all night, and he finally went a little too far after a strikeout in the seventh inning.

Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after hitting an RBI single during the first inning against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on June 23, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Bryce Harper has as good a feel for the strike zone as any hitter in baseball. He’s led the Majors in walks two different times in his career already, and he entered play on Friday with an OBP of .390. So when home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook rung up the two-time MVP on a called third strike in the fifth inning of the Philadelphia Phillies’ critical game against the New York Mets on Friday night, Harper was less than thrilled. And when another questionable Estabrook call contributed to a swinging strikeout his next time up, he was ... really less than thrilled. And he decided to let Estabrook know it:

Granted, it’s not the spiciest ejection you’ll ever see — Harper certainly could’ve gotten his money’s worth, especially after he’d already been sent to the showers — but showing up an umpire at home plate like that is a bright red line. Of course, in Harper’s defense, he was right on the merits: Just look at where the called third strike (the number five in the graphic below) was in relation to the zone:

And the first pitch of his at-bat in the seventh wasn’t much better:

Robot umps yesterday.