Monday, May 7, 2012

An All-Star Pegging a Teenager?




Cole Hamels made a statement by coming out and saying that he purposefully beaned 19 year old rookie Bryce Harper in yesterday’s game as a “welcome to the big leagues” message. MLB promptly handed out a fine and a five game suspension for Hamels’ acknowledgment that the apparently errant pitch was actually intentional. Fair?

Definitely, but it is because of Hamels’ stupidity in claiming he drilled Harper purposefully. Cole Hamels was idiotic enough to tell the media his act was premeditated. He should have kept it to himself and moved on. But, because he was dumb enough to outright claim he had intentionally hit Harper, MLB acted appropriately with a fine and suspension.

The truth is, pitchers have intentionally hit batters since the beginning of baseball for a variety of reasons. Whether it is a rival team’s slugger, payback for a previous home run, or just a pitcher hating the opposing batter, these premeditated pitches are a part of baseball. But you don’t tell the media, ‘yes, I did it to make a statement.’ Let the welt in Harper’s back do the talking.

The Nationals retaliated by hitting Hamels during Hamels’ later at bat, an equally justified act by baseball’s unwritten rules. As expected, the umpire warned both benches and made any more such pitches lead to an immediate ejection from the game. This is where it should have ended, and Hamels’ intention been left up to the court of public opinion.

Sadly it didn't. But let's not forget the teenage rookie Bryce Harper made a statement of his own, proceeding to steal home on a pickoff play just a couple batters after being hit. That garners respect, and shows Harper knows how to make it hurt for Hamels – but in a more baseball savvy way. After brushing off any problem with the intentional HBP, Harper took the high road and impressed the baseball world by showing he will let his game do the talking. And the kid has only played eight major league games.

2 comments:

  1. I kind of like that Hamels admitted it. Refreshingly honest even though that kind of intentional HBP doesn't really seem to have a place in baseball.

    Not sure what his peers felt about him admitting it -- as I think all the Saints and NFL players aren't too happy with the guy who ratted on the Saints program.

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