MIAMI — The height of the pine tar on Bryce Harper’s bat, of all things, sparked a mini-controversy Sunday at Marlins Park that ended with Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen calling the Washington Nationals’ rookie “unprofessional.”
Television cameras caught Guillen, known for his bluster and colorful pronouncements, spewing profanity toward Harper, Nationals manager Davey Johnson, or both.
Major League Baseball’s rule 1.10(c) prohibits pine tar from extending more than 18 inches from the end of the bat.
Harper changed bats, Johnson said, Guillen continued “chirping” about the situation.”
“It got on the umpire’s nerves and it got on my nerves,” Johnson said. “He was trying to intimidate my player.”
Harper downplayed the situation, insisting he wasn’t sure what Guillen was yelling about and that he switched bats because he wasn’t “comfortable” with the first. While the Marlins’ manager ripped Harper when speaking with reporters after the game, Harper complemented Guillen’s passion and managerial ability.
“He’s a good manager, he’s a fiery manager,” Harper said. “He battles for his guys.”