I know I said earlier that I was done talking about Cole Hamels and his bean ball incident against Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, but when news breaks it changes plans quickly. Hamels has been suspended five games by Major League Baseball, and he will begin serving the penalty without contest immediately. As I said earlier today, by openly admitting to intentionally hitting Harper Sunday night Hamels automatically loses any right to appeal he would have had otherwise.
Of course, as Todd Zolecki points out, the way the schedule plays out, the suspension really means nothing other than a loss of some pay. The final game Hamels will have to serve on his suspension would be scheduled for Saturday, which should see Roy Halladay take the mound. Hamels could then pitch on Sunday, losing virtually no playing time.
In the end the suspension does little to hurt the Phillies as a team, and Hamels will be right back in action.
Personally, this is a concern when it comes to dishing out punishments from the league office. No message is really being sent here. If MLB wanted to really make a statement with their penalties, they would find a way to force the Phillies to go through their starting rotation without Cole Hamels. But again, how do you do that if you are MLB? Leave the schematics behind organizing such a penalty behind, what good does it do the sport when to keep one of the top young pitchers in the game out for an extended period of time?
All that does is punish the fans who pay to watch Hamels, and for some teams without such a star-studded starting rotation it could mean losing their best pitcher for almost two weeks.