Benches clear after Hunter Strickland hits Bryce Harper with a fastball that was very clearly a payback pitch YouTube Screenshot

Dusty Baker summed up the brawl between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland perfectly in his comments to reporters after the game between the Nationals and the Giants yesterday.

The Washington manager said, “in baseball you can carry grudges for a very long time.” As it applies to the Giants’ Strickland, that’s almost an understatement. It’s been three long years (over 1,000 days) since the two even faced each other, but the multiple home runs Harper blasted off the hurler in the 2014 postseason are apparently still pretty fresh in his mind.

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During the 8th inning of the Nats 3-0 victory, Strickland hit Harper with a fastball so square on the hip, it could only be seen as payback. Harper saw it the same way, threw his helmet at Strickland and charged the mound, clearing both benches and bringing the game to a halt for a good 15 minutes.

A couple of haymakers later (both Harper and Strickland each landed punches to the other’s face), Strickland and Harper were both ejected and will likely face multiple game suspensions. For his part, Strickland denied intentionally throwing at Harper, but nobody, including Baker, is buying it.

We’ll see if there’s any carryover when these two clubs face off again tonight.

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