Phillies swingman Matt Strahm is preparing for the MLB playoffs with the rest of his teammates, but he's still willing to discuss larger issues about the sport.
During a recent conversation with host Rob Bradford on the Audacy original podcast "Baseball Isn't Boring," the outspoken left-hander took the opportunity to stand up for teammate Bryce Harper, who was recently fined for throwing his helmet into the stands at Citizens Bank Park following his ejection from a game for arguing a check-swing strikeout with the third-base umpire, the controversial Angel Hernandez.
Officially, Harper was fined for "endangering fans." Meanwhile, a lucky young spectator came away with a valuable souvenir without incident. And, according to Strahm, the episode ultimately will only serve to hamper the growth of the game.
"That's unfortunate," Strahm said. "I mean, it made a young fan's day -- they got a helmet. That's stuff that I look at, it's growing our game. There's now a Bryce Harper helmet out there that all these collectors are drooling over, and this 10-, 11-year-old kid got it."
"The picture of it is the best publicity MLB could ever have," Bradford said.
"Exactly," Strahm replied. "So, I don't know about fining a guy for sending someone home with a souvenir. It's not like he maliciously helicoptered his bat into the stands and tried to harm a fan. So, it's kind of unfortunate to see that."
Strahm is no stranger to controversy -- both with his actions on the field, and his words off of it.
Earlier this year, Strahm and Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford were both ejected after the national anthem for lingering on the field to engage in an apparently tongue-in-cheek pregame staredown. Officially, they were tossed for failing to comply with MLB's efforts to speed up the pace of games.
Later, Strahm took aim at the league over the apparent inconsistency in the shape and feel of the baseball, calling it "the worst thing in our league right now."
Strahm is now renewing that criticism and explaining how he's dealing with the inconsistency on the eve of the postseason.
"Any time a ball gets hit into play and thrown back to me, I throw it out. Just because, the seams will be dented, the leather will be lopsided -- it's crazy stuff. So, any time a ball is hit into play, I take it out, and any time I get a high-seam ball, I take it out. I like the low-seam ball."
Listen to the full interview with Strahm in the audio player above.