Of course, he didn’t say “chicken bleep.” He probably said “chicken shit,” but in the interest of not misquoting the Nationals’ general manager, let’s go with chicken [bleep]. And yes, Cole Hamels hitting Bryce Harper in the back yesterday to keep things “old-school” was chicken [bleep]. It also turned out to be worth a five game suspension.
Rizzo had plenty to be angry about after Hamels admitted he hit Bryce Harper on purpose during last night’s Nationals-Phillies game (The joke ended up being on Hamels when Harper stole home two batters later. So, ha ha):
“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. That’s just — you know what, it’s something that I grew up watching, that’s what happened, so I’m just trying to continue the old baseball — I think some people kind of get away from it… Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”
That’s right, Cole Hamels. The good ol’ prestigious days of baseball — when you would drill somebody in the spine with a 93 mile-an-hour fastball just for being new — are long gone. Where did all that prestige go? Now you have to like, play the game in exchange for millions and millions of dollars and shit. It’s ridiculous.
It would be one thing to hit Harper on purpose, but Hamels took this to the next level by openly admitting it. And this is what Mike Rizzo had to say after Hamels copped to the deed:
“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… 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.”
Everything about that seems just about right. Remember: Cole Hamels is 28 years old. Mike Rizzo is 52. So when it comes to discussing the “old-school” days of baseball, Rizzo has more street cred. And throwing a fastball at a young kid’s back — that doesn’t ring of prestige and old-school baseball. That sounds like you’re being a dick. Sure, Harper was fine (and proved it by scoring moments later). But if he had gotten hurt, and one of the most exciting, promising young talents in the game had been snuffed out by Cole Hamels wanting to prove his “old-school” mentality, that would have been the absolute worst.
The MLB agreed: this afternoon, the league handed Hamels a five game suspension. Not too much prestige in getting banned for a start, eh, Cole?
Meanwhile, Bryce Harper took the high road when asked about the incident. “He’s a great guy, great pitcher, knows how to pitch,” Harper said. “He’s an all-star. It’s all good.”
Wow. This guy is awesome. Is there anything he can’t do? Besides, that is, hit a softball?