Bryce Harper hit two home runs during the Philadelphia Phillies' 10-2 rout of the Atlanta Braves in Wednesday's Game 3 of the NLDS. Not everybody liked how he celebrated.
After Harper blasted a three-home run in the third inning of Wednesday's game, he stared down Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia — who reportedly mocked Harper for his base-running mistake that ended Game 2 on Monday — while rounding second base, then made a throat-slashing gesture as he crossed home plate.
— MLB (@MLB) October 11, 2023
Longtime Braves announcer Joe Simpson didn't appreciate Harper's gesture; saying after the celebration on Braves radio, "And then when he crossed the plate, I guess the game is over, because Harper just gave the throat-slashing sign as he stepped on home plate."
Unfortunately for both Simpson and the Braves, the game was not yet over — because Harper hit another mammoth home run in the 5th inning to extend the Phillies' lead to 7-1 and proceeded to stare down Orlando Arcia once again, and make the same throat-slashing gesture while stepping on home plate.
How Bryce Harper's 2nd dinger of the game sounded on Braves radio
"Again gave the throat-slashing sign, which given today's climate around the world, I'm not sure that's quite what anybody wants to see"
And then tries to defend Arcia for whatever reason pic.twitter.com/6dFezIfwvD
— Nick Piccone (@_piccone) October 11, 2023
Simpson doubled down on his disgust after Harper's second celebration, saying, "[Harper] again gave the throat-slashing sign, which given today's climate around the world, I'm not sure that's quite what anybody wants to see."
While he never clarified what he was referring to, it's safe to assume that Simpson was referencing the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel.
Simpson's take on Harper's throat-slash celebration is ironic, considering that Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. made a similar slashing motion across the top of his chest during the 2019 MLB Playoffs, after catching the final out of a game that Atlanta won. It seems that Simpson doesn't remember Acuña Jr. doing so.
Regardless of whether Harper's throat-slashing gesture was justified, Simpson comparing the harmless, heat-of-the-moment celebration to a deadly global conflict feels unnecessary. Many people turn to sports as a way to escape what's happening in the world — but Simpson had to remind people of an imminent war just because he didn't like a home run celebration?
Hopefully someone on the Braves doesn't decide to imitate Harper's throat-slashing gesture during Game 4 of the NLDS, which takes place on Thursday night. What would Simpson say if that happens?
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