Bryce Harper, generally regarded as the top prospect for Monday’s MLB Draft, was ejected Wednesday at the Junior College World Series in Colorado after being called out on strikes.
Following a third strike signal on an 0-2 pitch by plate umpire Don Gilmore, Harper, who plays for the College of Southern Nevada, drew a line in the dirt of the opposite batter’s box to indicate he thought the pitch was outside. Gilmore then ejected Harper.
Harper didn’t argue the expulsion and was “escorted from the stadium and driven away by his father, Ron.”
The ejection, Harper’s second of the season, is likely to cost his team dearly.
Under JUCO rules, Harper will now have to sit out the next two games of the double elimination tournament, which means his college career is likely over.
Matt Youmans of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL reports on the reaction to the ejection by Harper’s coach, Tim Chambers:
Chambers said Harper was not “showing up” the umpire …
“Bryce was wrong for doing it, but he didn’t deserve that,” Chambers said. “In a situation like this, it deserves a warning. That was an awful quick trigger. Bryce didn’t stand there and argue the call. He walked right back to the dugout with his head down — and bang.
“In my opinion, it was a terrible call. (Gilmore) definitely wanted to be seen. I’ll defend the kid all day long.”
There’s no way to argue that drawing a line in the dirt in front of an umpire in full view of everyone in the stadium isn’t showing up the umpire. I’m guessing what CSN Coach Chambers is getting at is that umpire Gilmore should’ve had a longer fuse considering the magnitude of the game.
Though there’s no doubt from looking at the video of the pitch that the ball Gilmore called Harper out on was legitimately off the plate. The call was a bad one, but knowing that an ejection could cost him a two-game suspension, Harper showed a distinct lack of poise in his reaction.
Will that have an impact on where he’s selected in Monday’s draft? In my opinion, absolutely not. He’s your #1 overall selection barring any last-second unforeseen circumstances.