When Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels hit Nationals left fielder Bryce Harper in the back with the first pitch of Harper's first at-bat during last night's Phils/Nats Sunday Night Baseball game, it didn't look like that big of a deal. It appeared that Hamels was trying to throw inside to Harper and that his pitch got away from him. No biggie, right? Except that, after the game, Hamels came out and revealed that it was a big deal and that he had actually thrown at Harper on purpose.
"I was trying to hit him," he brazenly admitted. "I'm not going to deny it."
So, why'd he do it? Well, he offered up this garbled response to that question. "It's something I grew up watching," he said. "That's what happened. I'm just trying to continue the old baseball. Some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn't say anything. That's the way baseball is. Sometimes, the league is protecting certain players. It's that old-school prestigious way of baseball…I'm not going to injure a guy. They're probably not going to like me for it, but I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't trying to do it. I think they understood the message and they threw it right back. [Ed. note: Hamels was hit during his first at-bat and both teams received warnings about throwing at batters.] That's the way, and I respect it. They can say whatever they want."
Translation: Harper is the new kid on the block—and Hamels was welcoming him to it. Hope you enjoyed it, rookie.
[via Big League Stew]
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