PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper flipped out on the third base umpire and then flipped his maroon Phillies helmet over the protective netting and into the stands.
This was no ordinary souvenir like a foul ball. Hayden Dorfman, a 10-year-old Phillies fan from Voorhees, New Jersey, had an autographed keepsake he could wear home.
Dorfman landed the lucky helmet after a few adults clutched it in a scrum in the aisle Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park. Cooler heads prevailed and — at the urging of the boy’s father, Aaron, — the helmet ended up with the beaming fifth grader.
The Dorfmans have a partial season-ticket plan and attend about six Phillies games a year in just a few rows behind the home dugout in section 117.
The fireworks started when Harper was ejected by third base umpire Ángel Hernández on a checked strike three. Harper seemingly held his swing on a full count against Pirates starter Luis L. Ortiz and started to take off his protective gear when Hernández called out the slugger.
Harper whipped off his batting helmet and went off on Hernández as he walked down the baseline. Harper pointed his finger in Hernández’s face and had to separated by manager Rob Thomson.
Harper tossed his helmet into the stands to a roaring ovation from Phillies fans before he went into the dugout.
Let Hayden take it from here.
“So! He threw it over and then there’s like a bunch of dads like diving in for it,” he said. “I knew I wouldn’t get it. But I went in to just see what would happen. It looked like he had a pretty good grip on in it, so I kind of went in. Then (my dad) started the chant, ‘Give it to the kid!’ And then that worked.
“And then, like a while later, we went to the bathroom and got a text, come back because Bryce Harper wants to sign it. I ran back and gave the helmet to like five security people.”
Phillies staff retrieved the helmet from the youngest Dorfman and later returned it signed by Harper with a No. 3 and Philly Philly! inscription. Harper also signed the helmet, Luke 1:37, a Bible verse that says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
Not on this night.
“After the fact, I was walking off, I wasn’t too upset anymore,” Harper said after the Phillies lost 3-2. “I kind of got all of it out. I just threw my helmet in the stands because I didn’t need it anymore. Got the kid, ending up signing it for him and he was super happy. It was good.”
Aaron Dorfman said three men “larger than I am” grabbed onto the helmet after Harper tossed it into the stands. So he decided to calm the situation by coming up with the solution that a child should have Harper’s helmet.
“Ten seconds later it was on his head,” Dorfman said.
With the Phillies set to host playoff games next week, Harper joked he wasn’t worried about getting a new helmet.
“I can get new ones,” the $330 million slugger quipped.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB