Hours after they were tossed from Wednesday night's win over the Yankees by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson, both Nationals manager Matt Williams and right fielder Bryce Harper remained fired up about their third inning ejections.
Harper and Williams were still confused as to why they were ejected in the first place.
"I'm really not sure. I have no idea. I think the whole thing was me not getting into the box," Harper said.
"I can't. I can't explain it. I don't believe there's anything that warrants throwing him out of the game right there," Williams said.
Both also strongly disagreed with Hudson's decision.
"I don't think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight. Plain and simple," Harper continued. "I really don't think they did. Especially when we're playing the Yankees. The Yankees are a good team, we're a good team and we're rolling. I don't want to get tossed. There's no reason for me to get tossed in that situation. I don't think I did anything bad to get tossed. Maybe he just had a bad morning or he didn't get his coffee."
"Doggone it, he's our best player and arguably the best player on the planet right now. And we need him in the game," Williams said. "And I don't feel as if there was any need to throw him out. So that's why I went out and argued."
The whole sequence began after Hudson called strike one on a pitch by Yankees starter Drew Warren in the bottom of the third inning. It was a breaking ball that was low as it crossed the plate. Harper thought it was out of the strike zone and let Hudson know about it.
"That was a little down, don't you think?" Harper recalled saying as he looked down and dug back in for the second pitch.
Hudson then told Harper to get back into the box. Williams and others in the dugout took issue with both the pitch and the exchange and started yelling at Hudson. The umpire then took his mask off to yell back at Williams.
Harper said Hudson then told him to get back in the box, but Harper replied he wouldn't because Hudson was still talking to Williams. Harper said he made sure to keep his head down as he talked back to Hudson so the umpire wouldn't think he was showing him up.
"Once you tell me to get in the box then I’m gonna take my time," Harper said. "I mean truly, I don’t need to get in the box when you’re chirping at my manager. And I don’t need to be in the box with your mask off. I mean that’s an equipment violation if you have your mask off. So nothing I can do."
Hudson spoke after the game to a pool reporter and clarified some of the situation, though he wouldn't get into specifics of what Harper and Williams said.
"Had nothing to do with the box," he said. "[Harper] didn't like the pitch, and I let him have his say going and coming. The dugout didn't like it, and one thing led to another and I had to run him. I had to eject him."
On Williams: "He said something he shouldn't have."
It was Harper's fifth career ejection and his second in a week. Both he and Williams were ejected from last Wednesday's game in Arizona. The Nationals also rallied to win that game after both were tossed, but this one put them in sole possession of first place in the NL East.