Bryce Harper had the unfortunate life experience of eating a 97 mph fastball last night in the Philadelphia Phillies-St. Louis Cardinals game. It was an extremely unpleasant scene yet somehow didn't do any significant damage to his moneymaker.
Harper walked off the field of his own accord after Genesis Cabrera's heater sailed high and tight, later posting an Instagram video reassuring fans and amateur doctors everywhere that he's doing fine.
"Everything feels good," Harper said. "Everything came back good -- CT, all that kind of stuff. So, face is still there. We're all good. See you guys soon."
Face is still there is both extremely good news and a very low bar. The moment one's face stops being there, well, that's going to be a bit of a problem.
Cabrera, who did not plunk Harper intentionally, went on to accidentally hit the next batter, Didi Gregorious, promoting Phillies manager Joe Girardi to come out and have a fit. The lefthander had to remain in the game to face a third hitter, per Major League Baseball rules, adding to the oddness.
"[Cabrera] should be thrown out. I understand why they give the warnings, but if a guy hits a guy in the face and a guy in the ribs, with two pitches, he's gotta go, right?" Girardi said postgame. "If you're really protecting players, he's got to go. Just for the safety of the players."
One understands why Girardi is frustrated and he's protecting his players, but it's probably not the best precedent to have umpires begin to eject hurlers just because they're extremely wild. No one wants to see anyone get hurt but this whole sequence was completely accidental — and could have been much worse.