The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS, but one of the overarching storylines is one that took place off of the field. Veteran pitcher and former SF Giants All-Star Kevin Gausman threw his hat into the ring to offer his input on social media recently.
Former SF Giants pitcher responds to Braves clubhouse fiasco
To give you a brief rundown, Bryce Harper had a baserunning gaffe to end Game 2 of the NLDS. Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia was overheard yelling, "ha-ha, attaboy, Harper!" several times as he entered the clubhouse following the game.
Of course, Arcia appears to be mocking Harper by repeatedly yelling this phrase, but this was not intended to reach Harer. The Phillies caught wind of this with Harper responding by blasting two home runs against the Braves in Game 3 of the NLDS. The two-time MVP stared at Arcia each time he rounded the bases as a way to recognize the incident.
Now, this has led people to believe that Harper was extra motivated to perform in that game. Though, the pitches Harper blasted out of Citizens Bank Ballpark were clearly mistakes. You would be more surprised if he didn't obliterate either of those pitches.
I am not going to dive too deep as to whether Arcia fueled Harper's motivared during that game. Though, the incident did create some controversy between players and media. Arcia's reaction was not intended for public consumption even though it occurred with the media around.
This has led to a number of players, including Kevin Gausman, to offer their opinion:
Gausman clearly sided with Arcia on this one. He makes the case that if it is not said directly to a reporter, then it should not be recorded. I cannot think of many instances of something like this happening, so it does not feel like there is much of a precedent. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post offered her perspective on the incident while adding that Arcia was aware that the cameras were rolling:
Honestly, this is just one of those situations where the players and media will not see eye to eye. Players want their privacy respected if they are not being interviewed in the clubhouse. This is a totally reasonable request. On the other hand, the media has a job to do and that is ask questions and report on what is happening.
Perhaps, you might just have to pretend that the cameras are always rolling in a situation like this and be careful what is said. It is not an ideal situation, but it would not be surprising to see players be more reserved following this incident.
I am a bit torn here. I do not think Arcia did anything wrong here, but it should not be surprising that what he said eventually reached Harper. I do not think the media did anything wrong reporting it, either.
With that being said, Arcia's comments likely did not lead to Harper's two-homer game in Game 3 of the NLDS. It was a mixture of coincidence and poor execution on the pitcher's part. It should be a non-story, but both sides have chimed in since then. What do you think?