Harper doesn't think umpires should be tasked with substance checks


On Tuesday night, Bryce Harper watched from the dugout as his manager Joe Girardi requested a mid-inning substance check of Max Scherzer. He then saw Scherzer throw his hat and glove on the ground in frustration before unbuckling his belt, and his manager was later ejected.

It was just one instance of what was a wild night as Major League Baseball aims to stop the use of foreign substances. From an outside perspective, it seemed like a chaotic start to the new era.

So, how does Harper feel it's going? Well, he thinks it's a question that should be asked to someone else.

“I think that’s a question for MLB, right? A question for Rob Manfred, how he thought it went. He’s our commissioner, he’s in charge of this game," Harper said on Wednesday. "And, I think that’s just how it’s going to be right now."

Manfred spoke to The Athletic's Britt Ghiroli on Wednesday, stating that he felt the first two days "have gone very well." Scherzer, on the other hand, would take the opposite stance. He feels "this is not the answer.

While the outfielder didn't expand on the events that took place in the first of two games between the Nationals and Phillies, or state whether he thought the new rules were going well or poorly, he did share one opinion on the checks.


To him, having the umpires be responsible for checking players isn't the right protocol.

"I think we need to take it out of the umpire’s hands of course. Get somebody that’s kind of outside of that world, kind of like a referee outside the ring," Harper said. "Where they check him or vice versa."

Harper understands that the checks are now a part of the game, and there is no way to avoid them moving forward. So, now the responsibility of the league is to find a way to enforce the new rules in a way that makes it fair for all." 

"We just need to figure out what works for both sides and go from there," Harper said.