(CBS) A day after Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper charged the mound to fight Giants reliever Hunter Strickland after he was purposely struck in the hip by a 98-mph fastball, Cubs manager Joe Maddon expressed his support for Harper and understanding of why he he escalated the situation.
Both players were ejected. Strickland’s beef with Harper dated back to the 2014 playoffs, when Harper homered off of him twice in a National League Divisional Series that the Giants would win en route to a championship. The fact that Strickland retaliated against Harper for the latter simply doing his job three years ago was as puzzling to Maddon as it was to so many in the game.
“I was really disappointed in all that myself,” Maddon said on the Spiegel and Parkins Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday. “I don’t blame Bryce for what he did whatsoever. I always tell my hitters, ‘Either go to first or go to the mound if you’re challenged like that.'”