Mike Rizzo explained pretty clearly on Monday night why 22-year-old, NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper got a game off for his role in the dugout altercation with Washington Nationals' closer Jonathan Papelbon on Sunday afternoon.
Bryce was held out of the lineup.
Papelbon was suspended for four games, and he dropped his appeal of the three-game suspension handed down by MLB for throwing at or near Manny Machado's head last week, effectively ending his 2015 campaign.
"Bryce had some accountability in the issue," Rizzo said.
"We felt that to discipline Papelbon the way we did and not Bryce was unfair and you could see by the type of discipline that we placed on both players which was weighed the most and we thought they were both equal and equitable ways to handle the situation."
Harper too said that was his understanding of the reasoning behind the punishment he was handed.
"I think just being part of the incident," he said. "Being part of what went on."
"I don't want to stay out of the lineup, I don't want to be out of the lineup, but something happened and, you know, it's part of the game."
What could Harper have done differently though, confronted as he was and challenged by Papelbon for not running out a pop to left field at full speed?
Harper barked back when Papelbon tore into him and the 34-year-old veteran proceeded to grab Harper by the neck and push him into the far corner of the dugout before the two were separated.
In separate appearances on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. on Wednesday, manager Matt Williams and Rizzo were asked directly how Harper could have responded differently?
"I don't know," Williams told the Sports Junkies. "I don't know what he could have done differently. The fact of the matter is that that's an organizational decision. I don't know. There's no good that comes out of anything like that, right?
"A skirmish is something we don't want. That type of behavior from [Papelbon] is unacceptable.
"All of those things we talked about. What could he have done differently? Don't know. But he was involved and the organization decided to do that. But it's over, it's done."
"There's not a lot he could have done differently," Rizzo admitted to Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.
"I put myself in both men's shoes in that incident and I would have done exactly what Harp would have done and probably would have paid the consequences as Harp did. Certainly Pap was the egregious part of the altercation. I think that the punishments given out certainly show that we felt that Papelbon was in the wrong for grabbing and choking Harp.
"I think the only thing Harp could have done was walk past him and walk to the other end of the dugout but he's not built that way. I'm not built that way. Papelbon's not built that way. And so that's not going to happen.
"So that's what he could have done different, but I wouldn't have expected him to do it different because I wouldn't have done it different and Papelbon wouldn't have done it different. So that's how I answer that question."