Rizzo: Correct about Hamels, but Only in Part

Posted: May 8, 2012 by hermutations in Uncategorized

After Sunday night’s game against the Nationals, Phillies’ pitcher Cole Hamels acknowledged that he intentionally threw a pitch that struck wunderkind Bryce Harper in the back. Hamels admitted to throwing at the 19 year old intentionally in an effort to “continue the old baseball because I think some people are getting away from it.”

In a brilliant display of class (read: sarcasm), Nationals GM said that, “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…He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.” In his rant he called the act by Hamels gutless, classless, and chicken (bleep). He also added that Hamels is (bleeping) chicken (bleep).

While I always enjoy a good temper-tantrum on display from some of America’s finest gold-diaper wearing pretty boys (Rizzo ain’t pretty) surrounding the world of sports, Rizzo was completely out of touch with the reality of Hamels’ statement of being old school. Well, sort of.

I agree with Hamels in the sense that baseball-and probably all professional sports-protect the individuals that the respective leagues deem above the game itself. The logic holds that in looking out for the “superstars” then the league is really just looking out for itself. People pay to see superstars play. In baseball right now, that superstar is Bryce Harper. I think this is what Hamels meant when he suggests some are getting away from the old way of doing things. Hamels references how small the strike zone was for him in his early years. What Hamels is saying is old school is the notion of earning your stripes. When Bryce Harper prances about blowing kisses to pitchers he’s hit home runs off of, then yes, Harper needs to recognize that he is not above the game itself.

But Hamels isn’t completely old school, and this is where I must agree with Rizzo. Not that Hamels was classless or gutless, or for that matter, chicken excrement, but in that Hamels is old school. Or at least not entirely old school. The old school would leave talk of intentionally plunking a dude in the clubhouse. That Hamels acknowledged that he hit Harper intentionally is the only thing I see that wasn’t old school.

Later in the game, Nat’s pitcher Jordan Zimmermann plunked Hamels on the leg. Hamels said that he deserved the plunking and actually expected it. Was the retaliation of Zimmermann classless and gutless? Looking down from Rizzoland one would have to argue yes. From Hamels’ perspective, nope-it was old school. It was the way the game is meant to be played and policed.

If I was a Washington National I’d be upset by the moral high ground that Rizzo expects us to take now when we play the Phillies. Afterall, what is the more gutless, classless, chicken (bleep) thing to do? Throw a pitch at a guy in the safest possible place to hit him, or call the pitcher classless and gutless and respond in kind?

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