Sunday night was the series finale between the National League (NL) East leading Washington Nationals and the struggling Philadelphia Phillies. Nationals Rookie phenom Bryce Harper was batting third in the lineup that night and came up in the bottom of the first. Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels threw a first pitch 93 mph fastball right at Harper's back. Harper, who is known to have a short fuse, simply took the pitch, grimaced a bit and then took his base. The Nationals home crowd was sent into a raucous and when Hamels came up to bat in the top of the third inning, Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman hit Hamels with a first pitch 92 mph fastball in the back leg, much to the liking of the Nationals fans.
When asked after the game if the ball that hit Harper was intentional, "I was trying to hit him," Hamels said. "I'm not going to deny it. That's just Â— 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 Â— I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything just because that's the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball." The MLB has responded to Hamel's actions and statement suspending the Phillies pitcher for 5 days. A somewhat pointless suspension as it will not cause him to miss his next start.
Harper has not really came out with any statements toward Hamels or about being intentionally hit. A man who has been very fiery and openly upset about this is the Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo. Rizzo proclaims that Hamels is "fake tough" and that his is the polar opposite of old school baseball. While there are unwritten rules in baseball, they are to be left on the field, you should not take it to the media and gloat about hitting someone whether or not it was intentional. This could be one of the main reasons Rizzo is so upset. Rizzo goes on to say, "Players take care of themselves, I've never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] 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."
Hamels's 5 day suspension began yesterday and he will be eligible to return to make his next start on Sunday against the Padres. While the suspension does not cause him to miss a start, the MLB had to give some sort of punishment for the way he handled everything after the game.