“I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken shit 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-old rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”
Personally, I respect the fact that Hamels intentionally hit Harper. This used to be common occurance in the big leagues, pitchers like Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal and most recently Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez were known to intentionally hit batters. It has become a lost part of the game. Even moving batters off the plate is becoming unacceptable. Hitters are getting too confortable in the box and pitchers are losing an advantage that they have had during several runs over the past 15-20 years.
What he did not need to do was admit he hit him on purpose. Drysdale never talked about it after the game to reporters. Its a non-story if Hamels doesn't say anything after the game. Hamels made it a story and that was not necessary. If he was being "old school", he would not have to talk about it after the game, it would have been already known that what he did was on purpose. How many batters did Pedro Martinez hit on purpose? Did he ever gloat about it after a game? Never.
This is coming from a guy who took credit for calling the Mets "choke artists" after they blew a 7 game lead with 17 games to go in the 2007 season. Listening live to the interview with Joe Beningo and Evan Roberts, it was obvious Hamels was baited into making that statement. It was Beningo and Roberts who asked him if he thought the Mets were choke artists, and after some pause, it was the two hosts who egged him on, saying "Come on Cole, just say it, the Mets are choke artists." Finally, deciding to grab the spotlight, Hamels gave in, but for years has taken credit for this being his own act.
Honestly, I am torn on this Hamels issue. Pitchers need to take back the plate, where the game has catered to the hitters. Batters are leaning over the plate with the feeling it is illegal to throw inside. Its not like Hamels hit him in the head. And perhaps Hamels is the only pitcher who decides to talk about hitting a batter on purpose, knowing he will draw a suspension out of it. And the Nationals got him back, when starter Jordan Zimmermann beaned Hamels during his next plate appearance, which Hamels rightly deserved. I feel that Hamels was foolish for talking about it; that in itself was not "old school". Old school was Drysdale, Marichal, Gibson and Pedro hitting a batter and looking into the batter's eyes as they get up and walk to first base. Pitchers used to say things like, "Do you want some ice" or "How about a bandage" as ways to mock out the batters getting hit.
Cole Hamels needs to continue to pitch like that. He needs to have an "edge" on the mound. He should use the hit batsman as part of his arsenal. But Cole, please do not waiting until after the game until the reporters are gathered around to reveal you hit a batter on purpose. Next time, tell Bryce Harper you hit him on purpose and step towards him and look at him after he's been hit.