Cole Hamels, pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, is under fire after admitting he deliberately struck Washington Nationals rookie, Bryce Harper, with a 93-mph fastball in Sunday’s series finale.
Cole Hamels will face a five-game suspension but will not miss his next scheduled pitching appearance Sunday against the San Diego Padres.
The 2008 World Series MVP and two-time All-Star readily admitted he struck the Nationals budding-rookie with a pitch after the Phillies 9-3 win Sunday night. Cole Hamels said of the incident, “I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. I’m not trying to injure the guy. They’re probably not going to like me for it, but I’m not going to say I wasn’t trying to do it. I think they understood the message, and they threw it right back. That’s the way, and I respect it.”
Hamels is right; many don’t like it, among the Nationals and beyond.
Hamels’ action has spurred disgust among many, including Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo, who stated of the intentional plunking: “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.”
What Hamels was attempting to accomplish is not a secret among those who follow baseball closely. Intentionally trying to scare players by throwing over their heads or behind their backs as they stand in the batters-box has been, and probably will be, a mainstay in baseball for decades. What Cole Hamels failed to realize is that a pitcher just shouldn’t admit to doing it purposefully. Think of it as one of the many unwritten rules of baseball.
The Phillies and Nationals will play another 15 games against one another this summer, and it is expected the rivalry between the teams will remain heated. The next meeting between the teams will be May 21 in Philadelphia.