Arts and Culture Editor
Sam: The playoff races are coming down to the wire but the real fireworks took place in D.C. this weekend. Tempers boiled over the edge in the dugout Sunday afternoon when Jonathan Papelbon thought the eventual 2015 MVP, Bryce Harper did not run out a fly ball to his satisfaction. So Pap took matters into his own hands literally when he grabbed Harper and a short scuffle ensued in the dugout until teammates separated the two. I believe it is great that the men were showing emotions about a very frustrating season but a scuffle within the team shows a sign of a lack of leadership.
Allie: I remember Papelbon being a hot head when he was still with the Phils and trying to get traded. It seems like being traded to a different losing team hasn’t changed his attitude much. I understand his frustration but I don’t think there’s ever an excuse to hit your teammate, they get paid too much to not be able to handle their emotions.
Sam: I remember two sides of Pap: the reliable closer for the Red Sox that won the 2007 World Series and the complete opposite when he verbally said he wanted out of Philly multiples times. Another tale of Pap is 2011 when the Red Sox collapsed in September and in game 162 he blew the save that would eventually knock them out of the playoffs, but that is a whole story by itself. When Pap was traded two months ago the Nats were in the thick of winning the Nl East but as we all know now have way underachieved this season. I see this whole season as a disappointment for that organization. Someone has to answer for incident and this season. Pap is done for the year via suspension from throwing at Manny Machado’s head and now this ludicrous situation. Harper got suspended one game but it did not matter because he had a scheduled off day regardless.
Allie: I’m glad that Papelbon had to answer for his actions but I think the suspension against Harper is unfair. Pap clearly initiated the fight and it seemed that Harper was just defending himself when he got grabbed and held up to the wall by his throat. Post game interviews showed both players saying they had no bad blood and wanted to ‘move on’ but I can’t believe there won’t be lasting tension and repercussions for these players and the team as a whole. These issues between the players show bigger problems in the organization that hopefully will be solved in the off season.
Sam: The team will be gutted this offseason due to free agency and even managers. It could start as high as general manager, Mike Rizzo and go thru the coaching staff. I really believe Matt Williams will receive the ax for not keeping this team together even though he had to deal with injuries and lack of leadership. The Harper suspension was just a formality but like I said before it was a scheduled off day for him anyway. The whole situation this weekend was truly a microcosm of their embarrassing season.