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The 5 best photos from the Bryce Harper-Hunter Strickland brawl

You’ve seen the moving images. But the still images might be even better.

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter Strickland threw a baseball at Bryce Harper, who charged the mound and threw his helmet at the invisible devils that have been heckling him since he was 6. It was all very dumb and entertaining, in the grandest of baseball-brawl traditions.

You’ve seen the videos and the GIFs, and they’re all loads of fun. But I’m always fond of the photographic accounts of what transpired. They’re moments in time, a motionless story that you get to start and stop whenever you want, with high-resolution details to pick out of the background.

I’ve dug through some of the pictures in the SB Nation photo tool, and I was not disappointed. Here, then, are my five favorites, presented for your amusement and edification.

5. The Confrontation

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

There isn’t a lot of subtlety in this one. Just two dummies throwing fist bones at each other because that’s apparently something adults do.

While Buster Posey got a lot of undeserved grief from people because he sat around watching these two dummies, that was a theme of the Giants’ infield. Christian Arroyo is in the background, half-jogging into the fray, not entirely sure what he should do. He was just a year removed from the prom when Strickland gave up those homers in 2014, so he was probably confused.

4. Guilt of the Baseball

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first of two images that makes it seem like Strickland is reacting to a horrific tragedy. The assembled men of the Green Hat Brigade are crowded around someone or something graphic, and Strickland is completely overwhelmed.

Mostly, though, I’m concerned with the baseball that caused this whole mess.

What would it be like to be used as a weapon against your will, to harm a living soul and start a fracas that jeopardized everyone’s health? Would you apologize loudly, or would you tearfully tell everybody to stop?

Or would you be silent, unable to speak?

You would be silent. And the blood would drain from your face, unless you’re a baseball, in which case the red would drain from your seams. There would be nothing you could do. Absolutely nothing.

3. Bryce Harper Carries an Umbrella in His Back Pocket

There’s a lot to unpack here, from Josh Osich wondering if Spongebob ordered a prefabricated pineapple home, or if he ordered a whole pineapple and carved it out himself ...

... to Will Smith, out there with a bum wing, saying something like, “Hoky smokes, what a mess!” ...

... to the bloodthirsty car in the background, who hasn’t had this much fun since it saw Christine in the theaters ...

... to the spectacularly moist Daniel Murphy, who shows up later in another great shot.

There’s a lot going on. For my money, though, I’m wondering what Bryce Harper is doing with an umbrella in his pocket.

My DMs are open, Bryce.

2. Sean Penn in Mystic River

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Righetti is famous for throwing a no-hitter on Independence Day, and now he’s famous for grabbing a one-hitter on Memorial Day, but seriously, folks, Hunter Strickland was acting like a freak, and it took three of his teammates to corral him. Mac Williamson calmly and wordlessly going for his legs was the most endearing part of the whole mess.

Strickland was acting like Sean Penn when he found out his daughter was killed in Mystic River.

It seems to me that this is a good indication that, once slighted, Strickland has a hard time letting go of things. Another indication would be that Strickland plunked a dude for something that happened three years ago in games his team won. But maybe that’s a stretch.

1. Caught in a Mosh (Anthrax, 1987)

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

People have commented in several different ways about how this part of the brawl looked like a mosh pit. I don’t disagree. But having been to a few metal concerts in my day, I would like to point out that if you saw someone the size of Jayson Werth, Michael Morse, or Jeff Samardzija freaking out in the pit — or, my god, all three at the same time — you would pull the fire alarm and wait for the firefighters to rescue you. It’s not like Bryce Harper is Jose Altuve, either. Those are some big boys in that particle accelerator.

And while the picture is easy to appreciate because of writhing, agonizing warriors captured in motion, it becomes true art only when Daniel Murphy looks like he’s the only one who took ecstasy before getting into the pit:

It was his first metal concert, and he couldn’t wait to tell his EDM buddies about the epiphany he had. This music speaks to me, he thought. I thought it was all about the anger, but there’s a fragile beauty hidden beneath the poisonous exterior.

In a sea of hair and wrath, Daniel Murphy is the happiest he’s ever been. I can respect that.

So go watch the videos again, if you must. Share the GIFs, and marvel at the hair. For me, though, the still images are worth at least several hundred words, depending on the current exchange rate, and I encourage you to seek them out the next time something gloriously stupid like this happens.