Harper, Guillen and a sticky situation

So let me get this straight: We’ve got another pine tar incident on our hands?

The first time around, it involved Joe Maddon and the Rays, with Joel Peralta being ejected for having pine tar on his glove. This time, it’s Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen, who always seems to find himself in the headlines, accusing Bryce Harper of having pine tar too high up on his bat.

The timing of this incident is comical, considering that during the All-Star Game festivities just last week, Harper got a chance to meet and chat with George Brett, one of his favorite players growing up and a guy who was involved in the most famous incident involving pine tar on a bat in major league history.

To recap, here’s what went down in Miami yesterday: After Harper’s first-inning at-bat, Guillen complained that Harper had pine tar above the label of his bat, which is generally the limit for where the sticky substance can be applied. The Nationals had Harper use a different bat in his second plate appearance, which came in the fourth inning.

harper swinging red close sidebar.jpgWhen Harper approached the plate before that at-bat, he appeared to go through his normal routine of extending the bat out in front of him. It was at this time that Guillen flipped a switch and started screaming at Harper and the Nationals’ dugout. A bewildered Harper stood there with a bit of a smile on his face, perhaps unsure of what exactly caused Guillen to lose it so suddenly.

After the game, Davey Johnson suggested his managerial counterpart was “trying to intimidate” Harper. Over in the home clubhouse, Guillen was accusing Harper of acting in an “unprofessional” manner.

We have no idea what specifically Harper did that caused Guillen to go bonkers, and Guillen didn’t go into much detail about it after the game.

But I do know that I’m left chuckling at the idea that Ozzie Guillen called Bryce Harper “unprofessional” after watching the 48-year-old Marlins manager drop F-bomb after F-bomb in the direction of a 19-year-old rookie. If anything, I think Guillen could probably take a couple lessons from the teenager on how to act in a professional manner.

Harper took the high road after the game, telling reporters that he thinks Guillen is a great manager who fights for his players.

This marked the second time this season that Harper has come out seeming like the mature, responsible one in his handling of an incident with a division rival. You’ll remember that he did well to brush off Phillies starter Cole Hamels intentionally drilling him in the back during a May battle at Nats Park.

This from a guy whose maturity came into question by outsiders so often over the last couple years.

I’ll be interested to see if we learn any more about this whole Guillen/Harper/Johnson situation during the next episode of Showtime’s The Franchise, a behind-the-scenes show which is profiling the Marlins over the course of this season.

I’ll also be interested to see if any of this stuff from yesterday carries into tonight’s series finale. It’ll be Edwin Jackson and Carlos Zambrano (who doesn’t exactly have a reputation for acting with a level head) taking the mound in Miami tonight.

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