When the shortened Major League Baseball season begins, a notable name from Bryce Harper's storied past will be wearing New York Mets blue.
The Mets signed pitcher Hunter Strickland on Monday, and plan on adding Strickland to their 2020 player pool:
Strickland finished 2019 with the Nationals after being traded from the Mariners, but his relationship with Harper dates back to his original squad, the San Francisco Giants.
For the uninitiated, here's a lengthy breakdown of the infamous years-long beef between Harper and Strickland:
A short version: Harper smoked a pair of homers off Strickland in a 2014 postseason series, had some fun celebrating the second, and Strickland got mad. Three years later, Strickland plunked Harper, who then charged the mound, where the two engaged in a mildly entertaining, bench-clearing brawl.
Like most baseball beef, it was pretty dumb.
But if you're thinking about more fireworks this season between the two, you'll be sorely disappointed.
Harper explained earlier this year that he's moved past the incident with Strickland:
For him to hit me in the a**, I'm not mad. You know what I'm saying? Like, it was definitely where, like, 'Okay, three years ago, now we're down the road, c'mon man. You got a World Series ring with it.' ... For him to come back, I respect him for the pure fact that he hit me in the butt. Because he could've came up and in, anything like that. And he just wanted to fight! How can you disrespect a guy who wants to fight? I enjoy that. And after that, it was squashed. It was done.
It's definitely some athlete logic, but I respect Harper and Strickland for having their brawl, and then moving right along.
The Mets' move still matters for Harper, though: last year, the Phils' superstar faced Strickland twice - once with the Mariners and once with the Nationals - and hit a home run in both at bats.
So that's something.
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