Seems that choking a franchise ball player in the dugout will get you in trouble. Jonathan Papelbon, closer for the Washington Nationals, learned that Monday after attacking star outfielder Bryce Harper the day before in a dispute over Harper's playing style, the Washington Post reports. "I was upset," manager Matt Williams told the AP after seeing video of the altercation. "I was appalled." Indeed, Papelbon received a four-game suspension for the assault, and decided not to appeal a three-game Major League Baseball suspension for plunking a Baltimore Orioles player last week, which leaves Papelbon out for the season.
The issue? Harper had flied out to left in the eighth inning and merely trotted over to first base. As Harper returned to the dugout, Papelbon angrily told him to "run it out," and Harper retorted with "let's [expletive] go." So the 34-year-old closer clutched the 22-year-old's neck and shoved him against the wall, until several Nats coaches and players pulled them apart, ESPN reports. For the record, Papelbon did apologize: "Yeah, he apologized. So, you know, whatever," says Harper, per the New York Times. "It’s like brothers fighting. That’s what happens." It's a sad note for a talented team that was widely expected to win the World Series when the season began. They were eliminated from contention on Saturday. (Read more baseball stories.)