In the top of the fourth inning Sunday afternoon, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen picked up a bat and started screaming across the diamond from his dugout on the third-base side. It appeared he was motioning something with the bat and muttered several obsenities (according to my awesome lip-reading skills).
The Nats Enquirer has a nice photo compilation of what transpired. Or, here's a tweet that shows Ozzie in perhaps his most demonstrative moment:
Ozzie mimics Harper's routine. twitter.com/James_Bondman/…— James T. Bondman(@James_Bondman) July 15, 2012
So what was the problem? It was tough to tell during the game. But Guillen did take his problem to the home plate umpire to complain.
Anyway, we had to wait until after the game to find out, and it turns out Guillen had an issue with Bryce Harper's pine tar, in that it went too far up the bat in Harper's first at-bat. In his second at-bat, Harper took out a different piece of lumber and held it out while smiling -- as if to say "is this OK?"
That was when Guillen took a bat and started yelling in addition to miming Harper (in the above picture).
"I could have said a lot of [stuff] about this kid. I've been praising this kid like everyday," Guillen said (Mark Zuckerman on Twitter). "The last three times they asked me about him, the only thing I said was he's a great player. What he did [Sunday] was unprofessional."
Nationals manager Davey Johnson said the following (via Natsinsider.com): "Ozzie had complained that the pine tar was too high up on Harper's bat, so we changed it. Then he was still chirping about it. It got on the umpire's nerves. It got on my nerves. He was trying to intimidate my player, I guess. That's not going to bother our player. He does what he has to do."
Johnson also told reporters that Guillen complained to the umpiring crew about Harper's pine-tar covered bat, so the Nationals just told Harper to use a different bat to avoid any issues.
As for Harper himself? He's already a seasoned veteran in dealing with the media:
Harper, as always, wouldn't take the bait when asked about it. Called Ozzie a "great manager."— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 15, 2012
So there we have it. Ozzie Guillen has found a new way to garner attention. In other words, just your ordinary Marlins story for the 2012 campaign.
Also of note: The volatile Carlos Zambrano starts for the Marlins Monday against the Nationals on getaway day.