Cole Hamels, Tough Guy

The United Negro College Fund has used the phrase for four decades now: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

When I first heard of Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels’ decision to deliberately throw at the Washington Nationals’ teen phenom outfielder Bryce Harper in the first inning of a game last Sunday evening, I wasn’t terribly surprised based on how Harper periodically “acted out” on his way to the big leagues.  I assumed (having admittedly not seen any of the weekend series between the two clubs) Harper had done something extremely unprofessional or unbecoming to infuriate his opposition…and Hamels was simply making a statement that kind of behavior would not be tolerated by the Phils.

And then I subsequently learned Hamels’ reasoning was…well…lacking any reason at all:

“That’s something I grew up watching, that’s kind of happened.  So I’m just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it.  I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is.  But I think unfortunately the league’s protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”

My mind is still trying to wrap itself around that garbled testimony…as well as the fact no one in the local Philly media apparently can unearth anything Harper did or said over the weekend to even marginally rationalize getting deliberately thrown at.  My mind is also trying to process the fact Hamels ADMITTED he threw at Harper, which of course automatically takes money out of his pocket and makes him a potential “repeat offender” for future situations should they arise…not that baseball actually punishes anyone.

I could have cared less about all this nonsense until people started to call Hamels a “tough guy” for his action, allegedly taking it upon himself to represent all of major league baseball in letting this budding superstar teenager know nothing would come easy for him upon arriving in the show just a short time ago.

“Tough guy?”  Cole isn’t even the toughest person in his own bedroom.

That title is reserved for his wife, Heidi.  She was on “Survivor.”  I don’t think Cole could have lasted more than a couple of days on an island.  In fact, even if he survived the initial starvation and sunburn he would surely have been voted off early on for not being able to play nice with others.

Some baseball fans seem to have conveniently forgotten how selfish, petulant and whiny Cole Hamels was…is?

2005 – He broke his pitching hand in a bar fight prior to the start of his minor-league season.  That was brilliantly selfish, especially when the organization was already putting up with his various injury issues and history.

2007 – In only his second year in the bigs, he called out the organization for not providing a full-time chiropractor on the road…and even claimed he wouldn’t have been on the DL if they had one.  Ruben Amaro, Jr. publicly responded to the “cheap Phillies” assertion, questioning if the elbow tendon problem Hamels was having at the time was really relevant to being best served by chiropractic medicine.

2008 – Before his third season even began, Hamels questioned the organization low-balling him on salary, calling it a “low-blow” and catching him “off-guard”and knowing the fact Hamels is “in play” right now for future employment, check out this fascinating (yet equally convoluted) quote from back then:

“They do want to keep you happy, and that will affect down the line with certain things that come up because you can’t just all of a sudden throw everything out (at a player) at the last second and think that’s really going to make him happy because he’s still got check marks for what they didn’t do in the years before.”

2009 – After signing a 3-year, $20.5 million deal with the organization…Hamels left training camp complaining of arm troubles while the Phillies’ medical staff could not figure out what was wrong (apparently, neither could any chiropractors).  In the World Series that year, after losing Game 3 he told reporters, “I can’t wait for it to end.”  This prompted the now famous quote from teammate Brett Myers several days later who said to Hamels, “What are you doing here?  I thought you quit.”

I have always felt deliberately throwing a baseball at a batter is gutless period.  Hearing Hamels’ bizarre explanation of why he did it in this instance is sad.  And as you can see from the above, not so surprising when you consider how he has conducted himself at times over his relatively short time in the majors.

A mind IS a terrible thing to waste.

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19 Responses to Cole Hamels, Tough Guy

  1. Spill Man says:

    I agree that throwing at a player for no reason is just a dick move. However, I am not sure it was worthy of a suspension. A fine, maybe. But a suspension? He didn’t throw at his head. I know he would only miss one start, if even that, but I just don’t see it as bad enough to suspend him.

  2. Interestingly enough, none other than “crusty” ol’ Jim Leyland offered he should have been suspended for fifteen games. A few other old-school types chimed in that way also…and I think it has more to do with Hamels’ stupidity in saying he did it on purpose, when he did it… and his pathetic explanation why he did it. A five game suspension for a pitcher doesn’t affect him or his team. It simply marks him as an “offender” and lightens his wallet. In reality, your wish was granted. He really was just fined in the end.

  3. Hamels is indeed a “tough guy” …… he likes to take long romantic walks on a beach with the one he loves , while reading poetry and occasionally he’s been known to take in a Broadway musical alongside the Jets’ Mark Sanchez . Baseball and the NFL long lost their cojones` years ago ! There’s no god-dam common sense being shown by anyone with authority within either of the hierarchies in question !

  4. Cris Carter say his bounty had nothing to do with injuring an opponent , merely because he wanted them to heed his warnings .

  5. About two years ago, I drove over to Clearwater to check out a Yankees-Phillies spring training game.

    Full house, great game. Halladay and CC got the starts.

    My buddy and I wandered around from beer vendor to beer vendor, trying to catch a buzz, when we strolled past the outfield fences. The game was still going on, late, and we saw Hamels walking to his car.

    It wasn’t your random sports car or SUV or anything fancy. It wasn’t a rental car either. It was old and for the life of me, I can’t recall the make or model, but it was like a Buick or a Cavalier or something, definitely not the kind of car you think you’d see a guy like Hamels getting into… until of course you realize, it was Cole Hamels.

  6. Jup says:

    Bryce Harper’s offense was that he was a rookie. There’s no reason to throw at the rookie. Too bad MLB doesn’t adjust suspensions to properly fit the player type. Pitchers, if needing suspension, should be forced to miss at least ten games. That’ll guarantee they miss a couple of starts and may actually think before running their mouths the next time around

    • Jup, it continues to amaze me how fans and media alike all ridicule the pitcher “five game suspension” every time it is issued…but Major League Baseball still doesn’t care about the perception of true insanity. Perhaps the most toothless penalty we have in all of sport.

  7. sports’

    I’d definitely pay to see Carter and Romanowski in a no holds barred cage match ! But no more than $39-95 on PPV . Your thoughts ?

    tophatal ……………

    • I think I’d rather see them have a debate, at which point once Bill couldn’t keep up talking with Cris he’d just charge across the stage and take out CC and the podium in one swoop.

      • sports’

        A debate ? C’mon now , isn’t it bad enough having to listen to Mitt and Obama exchange barbs ? Let CC and Romanowski sort it out in a no hold barred match-up , with the last man standing being declared an a#s !

        I see the Clemens’ perjury trial has taken on a new lease of life ? It’s no longer a soap opera but a comedy of errors ! How much god-damn money of the taxpayers’ has been spent on the two cases as of now ? The first , ended in a mistrial and this one may or may not , have an ending that’s satisfactory for everyone .

        The original BALCO investigation that led to the trials of Olympic track athletes Tim Montgomery , Marion Jones and baseball slugger Barry Bonds cost an estimated $25 million over the time-span , from start to finish , inclusive of the trials in question .

  8. Clenbuterol is also used in the field of horse racing . WTF !

    I’m sure that’ll assist Mota in ” his game ” somehow . Your thoughts ?

  9. Steven Jeffries says:

    Great story on Hamels. I can’t say I’m surprised by all of this ego-driven garbage that college-pro athletes get in trouble with. And that is really a sad thing to say…

    • Steven, this was the last guy on that team I thought would pose as a tough guy, let alone a “defender” of all of baseball. Probably should have been suspended for several starts…as well as one additional one simply for being so idiotic as to admitting intent.

  10. Steven Jeffries says:

    I think I read somewhere today is Cole’s B-day. What can we get him? Hmmm…some “chin music” would be in order! Man, how about those Yankees! They have risen out of the ashes this year…

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