Is Cole Hamels “fake tough,” as Nationals GM suggests?

The fallout from Cole Hamels pegging Bryce Harper in the backside Sunday night in the first inning continues today, with the Washington Nationals getting in to the mix in ironic fashion. A general manager calling a player gutless? Real smooth move for a man who will defend himself from a luxury box in the stadium while the player has to work on the field. Right?

“Players take care of themselves,” Rizzo said in a phone interview with the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore. “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.”

Really? More classless than this? Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Heck, I may be in the minority with the usual readers here but I’ll even tell you this move by Chase Utley was more of a classless act than what Hamels did. And I’m even trying to be fair without even touching this, although I just did.

Just checking. Anyway, you can understand where the general manager of the Nationals is coming from, and he really is doing nothing more than defending his own player that could become the face of the franchise down the road. Hamels admitted after last night’s game that he did in fact throw a ball at Harper intentionally, and even though he should be suspended for the move you have to give Hamels at least an ounce of respect for coming out and not hiding from his intent the way a number of pitchers have before. Hamels did not duck and cover form the incident. He took his own hit-by-pitch like a professional and never once showed any intent to throw at another Nationals player.

“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.”

This coming from the general manager of a franchise who saw a number of John Lannan pitches make contact with second baseman Chase Utley and other Phillies batters. 

You will not find me suggesting Hamels should get away with this unscathed. I am on record of saying that Hamels should absolutely be suspended whatever amount is needed in order for him to miss his next start, or one start whenever Bud Selig gets around to handing out a punishment. He’ll pay the fine, serve his time and move on, and by admitting to it as freely as he did he likely won’t even bother with an appeal.

Rizzo continues…

“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.”

Of course the commissioner will act on this, and it will not be because the general manager of the Nationals says so. I don’t think many people are suggesting baseball will turn a blind eye to this incident. This is just a case of Rizzo speaking out and making himself heard at this point.

“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.”

Sure, some of the message was being sent to Harper about life in the big leagues. But the message was also sent to the rest of the Phillies that enough is enough, and it is time to start winning some ballgames again.

[Note: Hamels denied that the incident was used to light a fire for the Phillies]

The Nationals still have the upper hand right now of course, and that carries more weight than anything else. The Phillies are chasing the Nationals right now. No beanball can change that fact.

Perhaps Warren Sapp said it best once when confronted by former Green Bay Packers head coach Mark Sherman.

You’re so tough, put a jersey on!


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