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10-Year-Old Fan Ends Up With Bryce Harper’s Batting Helmet

For all the bad calls that MLB ump Angel Hernández has made, at least one of them has had a very positive effect on a young boy’s life. That was the case last night in Philly, as Hernández, umping at third base, ruled that Phillies DH Bryce Harper had gone around on a checked swing, prompting Harper to blow a gasket. Harper got tossed and then did some tossing of his own, heaving his batting helmet over the protective screen behind the Phils’ dugout and into the crowd, where a scrum of fans scrambled for it:

The helmet eventually ended up with 10-year-old Hayden Dorfman of Voorhees, N.J. He explained how that happened in this interview shortly after the incident:

The key passage there is this:

First I saw him throw it, and I knew I wouldn’t get it, so I kind of stood still. There were like three or four dads just diving in. It was pure chaos — I did not wanna go in there.

But then I kinda like stood on the outside, in case it fumbled out. But the dads thought I was going for it, so they started yelling, “Give it to the kid,” and that worked.

The whole “Give it to the kid” thing recalls the discussion we had in 2022 about giving foul balls to kids.

Harper apparently signed the helmet for Hayden at some point, as you can see in this photo of him with his father, Aaron:

A few quick thoughts:

  1. That was a really bad call.
  2. Bonus points to Hayden for matching his jersey to what the team was wearing last night.
  3. I’m a little surprised that they let him keep the helmet. When a bat goes into the stands, they make the fans return it. A helmet seems like the kind of thing a player might want back, but I guess not.
  4. If you look at that photo of Hayden with the autographed helmet, you can see that the helmet logo is a flat decal. The Phils use raised/3D logos on their primary and alternate helmets, but I guess the flat decal is era-appropriate for the maroon throwback lid.

Incidentally, throwing helmets is nothing new for Harper. He was tossed from a game just two weeks ago after throwing his helmet and bat in disgust over a called strike:

And in 2017, he threw his helmet while charging the mound and inciting a brawl:

So I think we can say that Harper leads the league in helmet tosses. At least this one had a happy ending.

Comments (27)

    I love Bryce. Made that kid’s night and shined a bright light on what a trash umpire Angel Hernandez is…

    Here’s how it got signed:

    “We were about to go to Shake Shack after I was done going to the bathroom, and the security guards started calling us. They said, Harper wants to sign it!

    “So we started running here. They took it and said they’d be back in around 20 minutes.”


    I wonder if bats often come back by request of superstitious players? Bats are a comfort thing.
    The couple of times I have seen this at Wrigley, the fan was often given a replacement bat.

    Angel Hernandez is the embodiment of incompetence combined with arrogance. By far, the worst umpire in recent MLB history.

    Does Hernandez pay for his incompetence with a dearth of playoff assignments? Umpire discipline fascinates me, since it all happens behind closed doors.

    MLB kept him from a postseason assignment because he is inept. He sued MLB, citing racism. Not making this up.
    As a Phillies fan, this was a horrible call. But show me a fan of any team who can defend that call or his body of work.
    At least the kid got the best show & tell prop of all time out of it. And props to Bryce for signing it for the kid. He bought into everything we are – the Phanatic, the Eagles – and we love him for it.

    I’m not a fan of the free helmet or seeing stuff given away, jersey swaps etc. The cost of this “free” stuff gets passed down to the ticket buyers.

    This is a joke, right? A $300 jersey amounts to a penny per ticket in an average 30,000 seat stadium. I don’t think that’s what’s driving up ticket prices.

    Point 1. Citizens Bank Park holds 45,000 – or a full 50% more than your projection.
    Point 2. Bryce Harper makes $30M a year.
    Point 3. Comcast is paying the Phillies $2.5B to broadcast their games.

    I agree with your premise, even more vehemently. This was a ridiculous take and as a season ticket holder, I do not mind one bit.

    Is there some sort of ump tenure? Is he protected by a union? Why does Angel still have a job after years of his ineptitude? Has the pipeline of younger umpires stopped?

    As a Nats fan I’m supposed to dislike Bryce Harper. BUT he did win us a World Series by leaving and saying in his opening interview in Philly that he wanted to bring a championship to DC. So thanks Bryce.

    Also, he’s so passionate about the game that he’s hard to dislike. Great move signing the helmet. Made that kids year.

    Right there with you, but how would you display it on the mantle or a shelf in the home office? I guess because of the flap, you’d see the signature under the brim because it’d be leaning.

    I kinda don’t wanna see the signature. I’d enjoy knowing that it’s there, but I’d prefer to have the item in its “natural state,” if that makes sense.

    I thought the bat was a security thing. You cannot bring long umbrellas into parks. You can’t bring bats for signatures. The souvenir bats are short too. I never thought about bats being returned to players. I just thought they were a post-9/11 security rule.

    Based upon data from umpscorecards, the 4 worst umpires on their actual accuracy on calling balls and strikes in 2023 are:

    Scott Barry
    Angel Hernandez
    CB Bucknor
    Hunter Wendlestedt


    One thing regarding your point 3, Paul: it was the last home game of the regular season for the Phillies, and as such it was also the last regularly-scheduled throwback game of the season.

    Of course, there’s the possibility that, like last year in Game 5 of the World Series, the Phils could break out the throwbacks again for a game, but I don’t think Bryce will be hard-pressed to have a fresh helmet ready if that happens.

    Great episode, great interview with the kid. Great move by Harper to sign it. But what a horrible call.

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