Major league baseball decided today that Cole Hamels‘ intentional plunking Bryce Harper in the first inning of their Sunday afternoon game was worth a five day vacation , uh, suspension. Hamels will not likely miss his next scheduled start. Generally suspending starting pitchers for five games is pointless, but that subject matter for another article one day. It’s not likely that baseball would have suspended Hamels were it not for his long and detailed admission of guilt.
“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I’m not going to deny it. That’s just … something that I grew up watching, that’s what happened, so I’m just trying to continue the old baseball.
I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything just because that’s the way baseball is.
Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”
To his credit, Harper responded to being told that he was intentionally hit with a measure of class and perhaps some political correctness, “I’m not mad at all,” Harper said. “He is a great guy, great pitcher, he knows how to pitch, he is an All-Star. It’s all good. … Hamels threw a good game tonight. You have to give all the props to him. He came out there, he threw the ball well. There is nothing we can do about it.”
Players throwing at one another has been a part of baseball, well, for as long as there has been baseball. I really think Phillies manager Charlie Manuel got it right. “I think if we beat them on the field, that’s going to take care of our business and that’s how we settle it,” Manuel said. “I looked at that as, once they hit Hamels, that’s baseball and that’s back on even ground.” but ‘He coulda been a little bit more discreet about it’ That’s an instant classic !
On the other hand Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t quite so philosophical. “Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”
Sound like fighting words to you? No, sounds like boys being boys, play ball !