Tempers flared in the Mile High City on Sunday with the primary combatants being Phillies superstar Bryce Harper and Rockies reliever Jake Bird. It was the top of the seventh inning with the Rockies leading 4-0. Bird issued two walks before getting a double play and deep flyout to end the inning in an eventual Colorado win.
As said flyout was being caught, Bird started to celebrate while walking off the field. Only it was less a celebration and more him just screaming at the Phillies' dugout. When some of the Phillies -- Kyle Schwarber could be seen in one shot -- took umbrage with his yelling, Bird started laughing, mockingly clapping and even stuck out his tongue a little.
Meantime, Harper stormed out of the Phillies dugout, possibly ready to throw down. Take a look:
Harper and Bird were both ejected from the game.
Bird, 27, is from California and went to UCLA. He was drafted and developed by the Rockies. He had never faced the Phillies before this season and there weren't incidents in his previous two outings against them. This is all to say that there isn't anything immediately clear that would cause Bird to have any sort of grudge against the Phillies. Of course, things happen between the lines that aren't always obvious to onlookers, so it's possible something happened that got Bird extra fired up for this outing on Sunday.
On the other side, Harper was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts while the Phillies were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position, having left seven runners on base through the near brawl. As such, Harper and his teammates were likely already pretty frustrated with how the game was unfolding and seeing an opposing player screaming in their direction was enough to cause things to boil over.
"I get emotion," Harper said after the game (via Alex Coffey). "I understand getting fired up after an inning and stuff like that, but once you make it about a team, or make it about yourself and the other team, that's when I've got a problem with it. You guys saw my reaction. I wasn't very happy.
"He did what he did and after that he kind of flew away, went into the dugout. He gestured 'come on,' but that was about it. After that point I was just, I went out there just to go, J.T. [Realmuto] was right behind me, Taijuan [Walker], same thing. I appreciate my teammates for coming out with me and doing that. Heat of the moment, that kind of thing. But like I said, once we got out there, he kind of flew into the dugout and just went away and nobody really saw him after he did what he did."