During last night’s Nationals-Phillies game, Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper in the first inning, and admitted just as much. Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo read the same quotes as well all did, and his response was about what I’d expect from Rizzo: pure, unadulterated rage.
“Players take care of themselves,” Rizzo said after I called him this morning. “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.
“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 rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”
Rizzo’s comments are eerily reminiscent of Jim Tracy’s this spring, who also called Ubaldo Jimenez’s beanball of Troy Tulowitzki gutless.
But Rizzo wasn’t done. After the initial rage had subsided, he made some solid points.
“With all the bounty [stuff] going on in professional football, the commissioner better act with a purpose on this thing,” Rizzo said. “Players have a way of monitoring themselves. We’re not here to hit people and hurt people.
“He thinks he’s sending a message to us of being a tough guy. He’s sending the polar opposite message. He says he’s being honest; well, I’m being honest. It was a gutless chicken [bleep] [bleeping] act. That was a fake-tough act. No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school.”
Rizzo then had some comments on Harper, and his response to the beaning.
“This goes beyond rivalry and all that stuff,” Rizzo said. “This points to, you take the youngest guy in baseball. He’s never done a thing. And then Hamels patted himself on the back. Harper’s old school. Hitting him on the back, that ain’t old school. That’s [bleeping] chicken [bleep].”
“I knew how he was going to respond,” Rizzo said. “I’m sure he won’t be happy that I’m sticking up for him.”
It seriously amazes me how dense some people are being about this. The issue isn’t Hamels hitting Harper, the issue is him coming out and immediately admitting that he intentionally did it. The issue isn’t “Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper”. The issue is “Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper, and is opening his mouth about it like a dumbass”. If Hamels says something like “the pitch just got away from me”, guess what? This isn’t even an issue. But for him to come out like a moron and say that he intentionally hit Harper, and was trying to play old-school baseball for a kid whose only crime is being the most supremely talented teenage prospect in baseball since Alex Rodriguez…well, I’ll agree with Rizzo. That’s just gutless.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com