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.
“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.