Nationals GM: Hamels is “Fake Tough”

Photo AP

Oh, baby. Things just got real in regards to the Phillies and Nationals budding rivalry.

After admitting last night that he intentionally plunked Bryce Harper in the back, Cole Hamels was lambasted in the media by Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo. Clearly, the Nats GM is not happy with Hamels and his intent.

From Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

“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 rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.

“With all the bounty [stuff] going on in professional football, the commissioner better act with a purpose on this thing. Players have a way of monitoring themselves. We’re not here to hit people and hurt people.

“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.

“This goes beyond rivalry and all that stuff. This points to, you take the youngest guy in baseball. He’s never done a thing. And then Hamels patted himself on the back. Harper’s old school. Hitting him on the back, that ain’t old school. That’s [bleeping] chicken [bleep].”

Those are some harsh words for the Phillies lefty. Can I see where Rizzo is coming from with his comments? Sure. If a Nationals pitcher had hit a Phillies player and then admitted it following the game, you the Phillies fan would take notice. And you’d be mad. So I can’t say Rizzo is totally wrong in his assessment of all this.

However, he’s going overboard. Hamels did not throw at Harper’s head. He sent a quick message to the kid and the entire organization that, hey, we’re still the guys to beat in this division, and don’t forget it. I like what Hamels did. I’m not condoning violence in the sport, but players will deal with it on the field. So maybe they will next time the two teams go head to head.

Rizzo is sticking up for his guy, and that’s understandable. But, to go on a diatribe about Hamels seems a bit unprofessional. It’s just adding to the juices that are already flowing through the I-95 corridor.

ALSO – Is Mike Rizzo doing this to capitalize on what it will bring to his team? Is he trying to inject more Natitude into the rivalry? It’s a business-savvy move by him to go public with his comments and hype things up to unseen levels between the two squads.

Click to comment


  1. PhilliesPhanGirlinNYC

    May 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

    These comments will just encourage more Phillies Phans to show up during our next meeting in DC. Probably NOT what he was going for – but oh well.

    • Michael Wagner

      May 7, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Would not be supried at all, if Rizzo changes his tune, if he gets a chance to get Cole in free agency. He would be more than happy to have this ‘Chicken” on his team.

  2. MOBster77

    May 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Harper crowds the plate and gives himself opportunity to extend on outside pitches. He has extreme confidence and plays the game that way. Whether 8 games or 800 games, Hamels played it right. You hit him, move him, force him to understand where he is at and who controls the plate. It is Baseball 101 and been going on forever. Hamels just admitted it afterwards instead of saying “no comment.” Rizzo is full of crap. Zimmerman threw at and hit Hamels – the opposing pitcher – not another player on the Phillies, like Ruiz or Rollins. That is chicken s@#t. Pitchers should NOT throw at pitchers. Rizzo might want to rethink his stupid statements – he looks like an idiot.

    • D

      May 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Pitchers should NOT throw at pitchers? YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING?????? In the NL,they SHOULD——that’d stop this BS from going on,and I don’t care how much this kid crowds the plate.It is CHICKEN S@@T……….and if you ask me,I think the Phillies know their window is closing FAST,and Hamels did it out of DESPERATION!!!!

  3. Bart

    May 7, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Rizzo’s comments are a good illustration of the perils of hitting the whiskey upon waking in the morning.

  4. Mark Sheridan

    May 7, 2012 at 11:17 am

    “Suck it up buttercup!!” Welcome to the “Big LEagues”

  5. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Rizzo is a jackass and a clown and is full of sh!t. He insinuates that Hamels somehow wasn’t being honest by trying to trump him with his “chicken shit” comment? Really? What Hamels did was fine…it’s baseball. He sent a message …clear and simple. Didn’t go for his head, didn’t try to end the guy’s career before it got started.

  6. 2tall67

    May 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

    If you crowd the plate…you will get hit….that’s the bottom line..pitchers don’t like when you close their strick zone…getting hit by pitches on propose is part of the goes on every year with teams…so stop being such a whinny bitch

  7. Mazinman

    May 7, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I hate it when GMs make statements like this which drip of hypocrisy. Are you going to tell me that no Nationals pitcher has ever purposely hit a batter before or after yesterday? Unless Rizzo is willing to commit to releasing every pitcher he has that hits another player then I do not want to hear it.

  8. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Yeah, Mazinman, the best thing Ruben can do right now is to keep his mouth shut. Let Rizzo look like fool that he is.

  9. PSUBren9

    May 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Straight up PR move. That tirade will get news coverage all day and it WILL sell tickets.

    Brings attention to Harper, the Nats, their management “supporting” it’s players and the rivalry they’re DESPERATE to cultivate with the Phillies. Heck, maybe some more Nats fans will show up for the next Phils series in DC. And if they don’t, so be it. Philles fans’ money is green too.

    Shrewd move by Mike Rizzo. If I were Hammels or Amaro… I’d stoke the fire. I’d call him out. “Cole, what do you say to Rizzo’s comments on you hitting Harper?”
    Hammels: “Hey… the guy is trying to sell tickets. He needs to stoke interest in that team because just having a good young baseball team doesn’t seem to be enough for those fans down there. I say good for him.”

    • Chuck A.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Wrong. Let them look like idiots. Ruben needs to stay out of this one. You don’t stoke any fire here. Stick up for your guy if necessary but don’t say anything foolish.

  10. TheDipsy

    May 7, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Hamels should have just kept his trap shut in the first place. And Rizzo overeacted. Two children.

    The Dipsy

  11. upandaway

    May 7, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I’m a rabid Phillies fan, but Rizzo is 100% correct on this one.
    The move led to a run, also, remember. That could have cost the Phillies a victory. I didn’t like it at the time, and don’t like it now. If a guy does something to your team that’s out of line, plunking him is fair game. But just drilling a guy who may be overhyped and full of attitude, but who plays the game the right way? It IS chicken-shit, and I don’t like it. It makes the Phillies look like a desperate, aging champ,.and the Nats look like the younger, passionate good guys. Like Philly in ’07.
    Cole will get at least a 5-game suspension, and deserves at least that.

    • EricL

      May 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      He’s not 100% correct, because there are things in his statement that are just amazingly incorrect. He can be mad at Hamels all day long, but saying, “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball” is beyond the pale. How about Robbie Alomar spitting on an umpire? How about Albert Belle intentionally elbowing George Williams? Or Belle & Sosa’s use of corked bats? How about WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER Nyjer Morgan throwing balls at FANS!?

      All of those things, and countless others, are more gutless and classless than throwing a ball at the body of a hotshot prospect.

  12. Nick

    May 7, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Whatever. This guy’s just trying to drum up support for a crap franchise by fabricating a rivalry. What Cole did was fine by me, especially seeing as how I don’t recall the Phillies ever exacting any sort of “player policing” on the Nats from 2007 when John Lannan drilled Utley, breaking his hand, and then plunked Ryan Howard right afterwards. You know why they didn’t? Because the GNats are irrelevant Rizzo.

    • Al

      May 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      EXACTLY !!!!!

  13. Manny

    May 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    $hit just got cray.

  14. Brian Michael

    May 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Any time someone curses in a quote it usually means his emotions got the better of him.
    It’s particularly funny when it’s an executive, not even a player.

    This isn’t going to drum up any more support with Nats fans, neither is Natittude. The people that are Nats fans are already Nats fans. They should be working with kids more to build a long-term fan base rather than posturing to apathetic adults.

    • George

      May 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      “…posturing to apathetic adults.” Right on.

  15. Al

    May 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Bryce Harper this, Bryce Harper that… Bryce Harper should just retire now, and put his glove, Bat, Batting gloves, and Cleats in the hall of fame now. Are you KIDDING ME??? Hamels may be considered “FAKE TOUGH” but plunking Harper in the lower back is completely fine. He wants to stand on the plate, he will get hit and SHOULD get hit by any pitcher in the Bigs.

    Chase Utley does it… He comes to the plate with some swag and stands right up on the plate. And Utley Gets plunked, Intentionally and unintentionally, and sprints down the 1st base line. Then what does he do, he comes back up the next at bat and hits a Homer off the stiff that plunked him innings before.

    Its a part of baseball. If its alright for your stiff, highly OVER-RATED pitchers to throw at Utley in years past, its certainly ok to throw at a 19 year old rookie who thinks his shit don’t stink.

    • Al

      May 7, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      For the record… I’d take Hamels NOW, and Hamels for the next 5 years, over ANY of the over rated pitchers that Washington has. This is including STEPHON. Yes not Stephen… STEPHON… Pronounced STEPH-ON.

    • Lefty

      May 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      It’s funny that you put it that way. I was just thinking this morning that Harper reminds me of a young Utley in many ways.

  16. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Right on, Al !!

  17. Don M

    May 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I didn’t get to watch a single pitch of this series so I wasn’t sure if he plunked him for a reason…. But after losing 7 straight to the team that is becoming pretty cocky , good for cold to send a message and then shut the Nats down for 8 frames

  18. Tracey

    May 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Yeah, Hamels was totally out of line, and the Nats would never do a chicken [bleep] thing like hitting a batter with the ball… except in the third inning of that game, when they hit Hamels with a pitch, but that was totally different.

    Hamels was a moron to brag about what he had done, and to go on about it as much as he did, but that’s just part of the game, especially with players who crowd the plate.

  19. Lefty

    May 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    In an article last June, Mike Schmidt basically predicted this. And that was before the Phils lost 7 in a row to them.

    “The competition on the field is gonna have to figure out a way to police this young man, if indeed his manager won’t, the game will end up taking care of him.”

    • Tracey

      May 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm

      (reading the article…)

      Yeah, that’s kind of a chicken [bleep] thing for Harper to do too. But has he pulled that [bleep] since he got to the majors, or was that just last year in the minors?

    • Jeff Dowder

      May 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Policing what exactly? Policing his hype? Policing his reputation? I didn’t see Harper do anything in THIS SERIES that required “policing”. Running out every ball he hit? Being willing to take a walk rather than swinging at bad pitches? Stealing home when given the perfect opportunity? Taking the extra base on a leftfielder who couldn’t throw?

      It would be one thing if Harper did something that was somehow grandstanding or showing up the Phillies, but playing the game “the right way” is what got under Hamels’ skin? Wow. The Phillies better get used to this kid, because he’ll be in the division for a long time.

      • Lefty

        May 7, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        I don’t have answers for you, Jeff D or Tracy. I just happened upon that posting while looking for suspension precedents. Schmidt didn’t like him and some others too.

        As I said in an earlier comment, he reminds me of a young Utley in some ways, I can’t hate him for that.

      • EricL

        May 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm

        You ever run into that person at the supermarket in line ahead of you who is paying in all pennies and nickels, and it’s so damn annoying? He’s not doing anything “wrong” per se, but it’s still super annoying and you should be able to tell them to knock it off because everyone else doesn’t want to have to sit through that shit?

        Yeah, that’s what Harper’s antics are. They don’t hurt anyone, but they’re annoying as hell, and sometimes you need to tell that guy to knock it the hell off. And, to be honest, if I were facing that dude in line at the supermarket with the bag of pennies on a baseball field, I might put one under his arm give the situation as well.

        As for getting used to Harper, well, the Phils might have to but Hamels might not, since there’s a not-insignificant chance he won’t be in the division next year.

  20. The Original Chuck P

    May 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Wake the sleeping giant… I’m sure that’s just what the Nats were hoping Rizzo would do.

    I’m ok with Hamels hitting Harper; it happens. As someone mentioned, Lannan put Utley on the DL (one of many Phillies he hit during his time with the Nats). We have always vilified Lannan but I don’t remember an instance where our GM name-called or the National media threw a hissy fit they way they have with this Hamels/Harper ordeal. And as someone else mentioned, it is more chicken bleeping bleep to retaliate by throwing at the opposing pitcher. You want to talk bush league and fake tough? I don’t think Harper cared one bit – he’s competitive, he plays hard and, as such, he should understand that there are consequences for playing that way. He has a lot of Victorino in him (I found it very interesting that those two had trained together)… you hate to play against him. I like Harper – I think he’s great for the game and there’s no doubt about what he’s capable of doing as a big leaguer BUT he has to earn it just like everyone else (and I think he accepts that). He’s not asking for the Crosby treatment – his GM is a jack-weed (along with all of the Craig Calcaterra’s out there who wrote articles making this thing bigger than it really is).

  21. Lefty

    May 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    For precedent’s sake I looked it up, and the last time I could find that the league suspended a pitcher was when Josh Beckett got 6 games in 2009 for throwing at Abreu and he did not admit to doing it on purpose.

    • Tracey

      May 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      Yeah, but when has a pitcher ever gotten in front of the media and said, “yeah, I did it on purpose, and I’m proud of it.”?

      • The Original Chuck P

        May 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm

        Hamels should not have said anything… that is 100% correct BUT if we’re up in arms with Hamels for being honest, then it’s a problem of pride/machismo and not deliberately hitting someone. You’re saying, if you hit someone, that’s ok but don’t say that you did it on purpose because that questions the toughness of the other team.

      • Tracey

        May 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm

        @Chuck: All I’m saying is, everybody knows it’s against the rules to do it on purpose, but it’s very difficult to prove that a pitcher deliberately hit someone with a pitch. There haven’t been many suspensions because it’s hard to prove. But if the idiot gets on TV and says, “Yeah, I did it on purpose,” it’s not so hard to prove now, is it?

  22. The Original Chuck P

    May 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Ubaldo Jimenez was suspended earlier this year for beaning Troy Tulowitzky.

  23. alkleister

    May 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Bryce Harper this, Bryce Harper that… Bryce Harper should just retire now, and put his glove, Bat, Batting gloves, and Cleats in the hall of fame now. Are you KIDDING ME??? Hamels may be considered “FAKE TOUGH” but plunking Harper in the lower back is completely fine. He wants to stand on the plate, he will get hit and SHOULD get hit by any pitcher in the Bigs.

    Chase Utley does it… He comes to the plate with some swag and stands right up on the plate. And Utley Gets plunked, Intentionally and unintentionally, and sprints down the 1st base line. Then what does he do, he comes back up the next at bat and hits a Homer off the stiff that plunked him innings before.

    Its a part of baseball. If its alright for your stiff, highly OVER-RATED pitchers to throw at Utley in years past, its certainly ok to throw at a 19 year old rookie who thinks his shit don’t stink.

    • alkleister

      May 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      For the record… I’d take Hamels NOW, and Hamels for the next 5 years, over ANY of the over rated pitchers that Washington has. This is including STEPHON. Yes not Stephen… STEPHON… Pronounced STEPH-ON.

    • alkleister

      May 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Sorry for double posting… I just figured out how to activate my account.

  24. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Just how is Hamels “bragging” here? Seems like legit comments to me..

    • Lefty

      May 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Doesn’t come off as “chicken sh!t” to me. Rizzo is probably just embarrassed his team finally got on ESPN Sunday night and they can’t fill the stadium. Without the Phillies fans, the stands would look like Turner Field.

  25. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Tracey – he SHOULD be proud of it. It was totally justified. And i don’t see any sense that he’s bragging or pumping his chest about it. Listen to the post-game interview. He has only good things to say about Harper….BUT…he does say that hitting someone that crowds the plate is part of the game.

  26. Metsfan

    May 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    As a met fan, I wish one of our pitchers had plunked a Philly in 07, 08. Just to send a message about not liking the phillies mentality and acting as the police of baseball educate. So I applaud hamels but it sure was stupid to admit it in the media

  27. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I don’t get this…. Hamels is asked a question by the media, whether he intentionally tried to hit Harper. He doesn’t lie about but instead does the right thing and owns up to it like a man….and now people think he was stupid to admit it?? Am I missing something here???

    • Ian Riccaboni

      May 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Us Philadelphia sports fans are a strange crew with a lot of double standards, including but not limited to things like this and yelling at Iguadala to not take the last shot and then yelling at him because he took the last shot but missed.

    • Manny

      May 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      I agree with you Chuck. I don’t get the criticism from our fans. He not only did that, but he then proceeded to dominate that lineup. Maybe some of them got a little bit of a natitude?

  28. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Tracey, how is Cole Hamels an “idiot” (your word) just because he responded in the affirmative to a reporter’s question?? He didn’t brag, he didn’t gloat….all he did was answer the question. I’m guessing your not much of a Cole Hamels fan, huh?


    Ian, yes we ARE a strange crew. Fickle to the core.

  29. TheDipsy

    May 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Chuck A. – respected poster – If every sportsman talked without a filter between his brain and his mouth we would all be horrified at some of the things we would hear. Hitting guys – its baseball. But its also baseball to just say “I was just taking back the inside of the plate” or some other bullshit. Admitting the you intentionally tried to hit another player is stupid. He’s gonna get suspended for 5 or 6 games. Just enough to skip his spot in the rotation. I like that he hit him…just because. I didn’t like that he opened his mouth.

    The Dipsy

    • George

      May 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Dipsy, At least Hamels ISN’T making BS statements like “taking back the inside of the plate.” That kind of pronouncement would have been interpreted by the League Office as “I hit him deliberately,” anyway, so there’s no difference except the integrity of the speaker (Hamels). I prefer integrity.

      I also hope that Rizzo wakes up every night with Don Drysdale’s ghost trying to “take back the inside” of the bed, or with Bob Gibson’s ghost “backing him off” the toilet.

  30. TheDipsy

    May 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    @OCP – Love the “jack-weed” reference. Thats kickin it old school.

    The Dipsy

  31. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Dipsy, I hear ya. I do. But I really respect Cole for having the balls to answer the question WITHOUT having to bullshit his way through it. Harper was crowding the plate, he’s got a reputation in the minors that was alluded to by Lefty’s link above, he’s a brash, young 19-yr old kid that needs to learn just how it’s done at this level. Eff it. Cole hit him, he admitted that he hit him, didn’t brag about it, has to know he’ll get suspended, etc., etc. It’s ok – move on. I’d be willing to bet that this little dust-up and supension will be well worth it in the long run….what did OCP say???…..something like waking the sleeping giant?? I love it!

  32. jacob

    May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I liked that he did it. Don’t like that he said he did it. It was obvious Cole, just say “I threw it, it hit him. They hit me. Discussion over.”

    Knew this was coming ever since I saw an interview from around when he was drafted and he said he would like to hit against Sabathia because ‘If someone like Chase Utley can hit home runs against him, I know I can.’

  33. therookie300

    May 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I still think the Nats are Fake Good.

  34. brooks

    May 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    For the brief few moments that I did catch the game on ESPN, I’m sure the announcers (who were polishing Harpers knob all game long) were aghast by what they saw. All is well. Super Harper botched a ball hit to him that plated another run.
    No big deal, Rizzo was trying to drum up more support from his fan base.

    Here is the article for those that did not read it yet:

  35. CC

    May 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I love Cole Hamels but give me a break he isn’t some kind of MLB Gate Keeper. Pretty confident Bryce Harper would not only love to attack Hamels but seriously injure him. Dirty, uncalled for play by Hamels given the fact it was entirely unprovoked and I think it makes the whole team look bad. Worse is that he will likely face suspension given the fact he admitted it. Harper looks like a jerk (I guess) but in honestly, the kid has done NOTHING wrong, yet at least. He didn’t even stare Hamels down, he just took his base and then hestole home and totally embarrassed him. Retaliation is one thing, a la ZImmerman hitting Hamels, but doing it provokingly is just stupid. Not to mention, if the Phillies had lost this game 1-0 would anyone really have been THAT surprised? I wouldn’t have. Stupid play by Cole, a distraction and a waste of everyone’s time.

    • George

      May 7, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Hamels just happened to be the first guy who brushed back an upstart rookie who was crowding the plate, and will probably be the only guy to admit it. He’s not an MLB gatekeeper, but he DOES have to keep his own gate, which is what he did. Any player brash enough to crowd an established ace is asking for trouble, and in a similar situation he’d have been plunked by Sabathia, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan, even probably Greg Maddux, or any pitcher who wasn’t a timid schmuck.

      It wasn’t an unprovoked act. Harper was too close, and that’s reason enough for any pitcher to send a message. He may play the game the right way, but so did Hamels in protecting his turf.

  36. Chuck A.

    May 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    CC – He embarrassed Cole? Really? Who proceeded to DOMINATE the game for the next 7 innings? And you think Harper now wants to “attack” and “seriously injure” Hamels?? Uhhh…I don’t think so.

    It’s really pretty simple… Hamels hit Harper, the Nats retaliated and hit Hamels ….which, if anything is pretty classless and not the way it’s done (teams routinely retaliate by hitting another position player, not the pitcher). What’s the big freaking deal??

    • George

      May 7, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Not only did they hit Hamels, but they hit him where it could have caused serious injury. If you’re aiming at someone, you throw it exactly where Hamels did: at a man’s back. You don’t whack him in the knee.

      • Erin

        May 8, 2012 at 5:35 am

        Exactly!! They call Hamels gutless and classless yet they hit him back… Nats GM needs to shut up, its baseball.

  37. Blog photographe

    July 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Excellent blog! J’essaierai de passer plus souvent 😉

    • loupossehl

      July 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      Oh yeah?

      Je suis rien declarer!

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