ATLANTA — As if they didn't have enough to worry about following a 4-1, 11-inning loss that ended at 2:29 a.m. and left them closer to fourth place than first place in the NL East, the Braves now are upset at Bryce Harper for smudging the dirt "A" logo they place behind home plate at Turner Field. The club's official Twitter account posted a not-so-subtle message during the game:
As he made his way to the plate for at least his first two at-bats of the evening, Harper appeared to drag his foot across the dirt logo, smudging it slightly. Atlanta's television broadcast showed a slow-motion replay of the "incident" as announcers chided the 21-year-old outfielder and noted how this "just endears himself to more Braves fans."
After the game, Harper said he had not intentionally done the maneuver and insisted he didn't even realize what he had done until shown the video by a Nationals employee.
"That's the last thing on my mind when I'm walking up to the plate," he said. "I really had no idea. When he came up to me, I had no clue that I did anything. Seriously, that's the last thing on my mind going to face [Aaron] Harang or [Craig] Kimbrel or somebody like that. I had no idea why that was such a big deal. Of course, that's the last thing on my mind."
Harper has been robustly booed at Turner Field since reaching the majors two seasons ago, the dislike only intensifying in the last year after he was twice plunked by Braves pitchers, leading to a beanball war that got Stephen Strasburg and Davey Johnson ejected from a game.
The Braves went so far Saturday night as to show a "Bad Lip Sync" montage between innings in which various MLB players' voices were dubbed over saying nonsensical things. The final clip showed Harper talking, with a girl's voice dubbed over him.