TODAY: Harper’s ban was knocked down to three days upon appeal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets.
YESTERDAY: Following last night’s brawl, Major League Baseball has announced suspensions for Giants righty Hunter Strickland and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post first tweeted, Strickland will receive a six-game ban, while Harper will miss four contests.
Both players have appealed their sentences. They’ll also each pay undisclosed fines, per the league announcement.
The fracas occurred when Strickland plunked Harper in the hip in the first pitch of his plate appearance. The latter charged the mound, with both players landing punches before things were broken up.
While the two hadn’t even squared off in years, the last time they did it was under dramatic circumstances. Harper, of course, swatted two long home runs off of Strickland in the 2014 NLDS.
While Strickland did not admit to any intent after the game, the commissioner’s office nevertheless found that he had intentionally struck Harper with the pitch. Per the league’s announcement, his actions were responsible for “inciting the bench-clearing incident and fighting.” As for Harper, one of the game’s most visible players, the ban was announced for “charging the mound, throwing his helmet and fighting.”
While Harper will officially sit for less games, the punishment will hurt the Nats more than it does the Giants. The former will lose a fair bit of production from one of the game’s best hitters, while the latter will miss out on only a few innings from a quality reliever. That imbalance is ripe for some criticism, though it’s also something of a matter of perspective. If the punishment is intended primarily for the player rather than the team, then perhaps it’s not as skewed as it might otherwise appear. The bigger question, perhaps, is whether suspensions of this length provide sufficient deterrent value at all.