Bryce Harper on Jonathan Papelbon beef: ‘Squashed that day’
The Washington Nationals season ended with a thud after the preseason World Series contender failed to even reach the postseason.
About a week before the merciful end arrived in an extremely disappointing season, one could say the Nationals’ season ended prematurely with a choke, but not the kind of choke one typically associates with a team. Instead, it involved a dugout dustup between Harper and the team’s hot-tempered closer, Jonathan Papelbon.
In an ugly scene that provided an embarrassing exclamation point on the season, the pitcher choked the superstar during an altercation, an incident that resulted in Papelbon being suspended four games.
The Nationals organization as a whole backed Harper in the incident, giving every indication Papelbon wouldn’t be back in 2016, for obvious reasons.
But it appears with only one week remaining before pitchers and catchers report, the fact that Paplebon remains on the roster indicates he may be with the Nationals for the upcoming season. Perhaps in light of this, the reigning NL MVP has opted to speak in friendly terms about Papelbon, adding any beef that existed between the two has long been put to rest.
“That was squashed that day,” Harper said during an interview Friday on 106.7 The Fan, as transcribed by D.C. Sports Bog. “I think everybody made such a big deal of that, and too much of a big deal of that. It’s all in the past and we haven’t even brought it up since that day.
“We’re looking forward to this year, like I said, and I want him to go out there and save 60 games, try to win a Cy Young and do everything he can to help this team win, and likewise I’m going to try to do everything I can to help this team win as well. It takes 25 guys, not just one. As a team we’re going to go out there and do everything we can to build on what we can in spring training and do everything we can to bring something back to D.C.”
Simply stated, if Harper is okay with Papelbon being on the team, that should be the end of it.