Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland suspended by MLB after brawl

The longest grudge in Major League Baseball history won’t warrant a record-breaking suspension for either of its participants. The league handed out punishment to Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and San Francisco Giants reliever Hunter Strickland for their roles in Monday’s fight, and decided not to make an example out of either player.

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The league came down harder on Strickland, doling out a six-game suspension for the reliever. Harper, the 24-year-old former MVP, received a four-game suspension for his involvement. Both players were fined by the league. MLB did not announce any other suspensions.

Strickland was not pleased about the ruling, but said he would “own it.”

Strickland added that he does not regret what happened Monday, but hopes the the issue doesn’t carry over to Tuesday’s game.

Harper didn’t have any strong feelings about the punishment.

He added that he would appeal the ruling and “see what happens.”

Harper is also hoping both teams can move on after Monday’s incident.

The suspensions were supposed to go into effect prior to Tuesday’s game, but both players are appealing the ruling. They’ll be allowed to play until the appeal process is complete.

Strickland instigated the fight after hitting Harper in the hip with a pitch during the eighth inning of Monday’s game. After briefly exchanging words with the reliever, Harper charged the mound, throwing his helmet at Strickland before the two starting hurling fists at each other.

Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland were punished for their role in Monday’s brawl. (AP Photo)

It’s unclear how much intent played a role in the league’s decision. It’s believed Strickland threw at Harper after the outfielder took him deep twice during the 2014 National League Division Series. The Giants went on to win that series, and took home a World Series championship a few weeks later, but Strickland was still angry about the incidents.

While Harper acted in the moment, his decision to bring his helmet to the mound and use it as a projectile likely contributed to his suspension. It’s in the league’s best interest to discourage batters from repeating that behavior. If brawls are going to be an accepted part of the game, the league would prefer they happen with beanballs and fists.

Based on this ruling, that’s unlikely to change soon. The punishments by MLB were in line with previous rulings. Neither player received a record-breaking or excessive suspension, so the league is not looking to get tough on brawls just yet.

It will likely take a more significant fight, with more extreme consequences, before the league takes the issue seriously. While both players appear to have escaped without serious injuries this time around, that may not be the case the next time another huge brawl breaks out.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!