The cold war between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies heated up Wendesday after locker room trash talk went beyond the locker room.
That talk would blow up in a day-long controversy that would lead to a 10-2 defeat of the Braves by the Phillies, putting the Braves on track to an early postseason exit. Phillies fans heckled the Braves throughout the game as the Phillies struck back over reported comments about Bryce Harper being tagged out to end Monday’s game.
The back and forth between the two rival teams began after a late game play that retired the Phillies in the 9th inning and gave the Braves a win Monday night in Game 2. After the game, according to published reports, Orlando Arcia joked in the Atlanta clubhouse “ha-ha Atta boy, Harper” referring to Phillies first baseman Harper, who was tagged out at 1st base as a result of the Braves double play. According to CBS Sports, Arcia said the statement repeatedly in front of reporters.
Harper then got wind of the comments.
“[My teammates] just kind of told me,” Harper said when he was asked about how he heard about Arcia’s comments. “And they looked at me, and they were like, ‘what are you going to do?”
What Harper did was retaliate against the Braves by hitting two home runs that helped sink the Braves in Game 3, putting them in jeopardy of early elimination from postseason play. As the story hit the press about Arcia’s comments, the ongoing rivalry between the Braves and their fans and the Phillies and their fans heightened.
At the game, Harper was seen glaring at Arcia as he rounded second base after a homer. He was also reportedly spotted making a throat-slashing gesture at Arcia. According to CBS Sports, Harper repeated this gesture after a 5th-inning homer.
Bryce Harper says he enjoys the banter when asked about Arcia’s comments: “Yeah, I stared right at him.” pic.twitter.com/cwhB1UnJsh
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“Yeah, I stared right at him.” said Harper after the game in a postgame interview with TBS. “It’s just a game. It’s fun. Everybody played a really good game. That’s what it’s all about.”
“He wasn’t supposed to hear.”
Orlando Arcia discusses his quote about Bryce Harper
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) October 12, 2023
Arcia didn’t dispute he made the statement. He told a WCAU TV reporter after the game that he did not intend for the statement to make it out of the Braves’s clubhouse.