Nationals LF Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch last night, in which Cole Hamels said was intentional. (AP Photo/Richard Lipski)
On late Sunday night in D.C., a rivalry was born.
Nationals G.M. Mike Rizzo, all fun-loving with the “Natitude” slogan and the “Take Back the Park” campaign, just went Gizmo on the Phillies.
Last night, Cole Hamels fed the Nats G.M. after midnight and he turned ugly in an interview with the Washington Post. (WARNING: If you haven’t seen Gremlins then the joke just went way over your head.)
“Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school,” Rizzo said. “He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going it intimidate us after hitting our 19-year rookie eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’ dealing with.”
During the 1st inning of Sunday’s 9-3 win over the Nats in which Hamels dominated through eight innings, he hit 19-year-old Nationals rookie phenom Bryce Harper in the back with a fastball.
After the game, Hamels told reporters that he did it on purpose as an act of welcoming Harper to the big leagues.
“I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it,” Hamels told reporters with a laugh.
Hamels didn’t care about the fact Zimmerman hit him either, saying, “Oh yeah, that’s baseball. I’m kind of happy that’s the way it works, because that’s the way it should. And I don’t think the umpires should interfere with it. Let baseball be baseball.”
With that, the Phillies finally responded to all of Washington’s ridiculous attempts at creating a rivalry. Lame campaigns and marketing slogans, manager Davey Johnson calling his pitching staff better (which has been ever so slightly to start the season) and ex-Phillie Brad Lidge calling the Nats the most talented team he’s been on were all cute.
A 93-MPH fastball was all Hamels needed to do. Why? Because it was old school and it’s how baseball was meant to be played. There are unwritten rules among the players and Hamels and Zimmerman used them.
“This goes beyond rivalry and all that stuff,” Rizzo said. “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 [bleeoping] chicken [bleep].”
Hoo boy is right.
Rizzo obviously didn’t like Hamels’ candidness, who said he “wasn’t going to lie” to reporters about hitting Harper. Will MLB be on his side and suspend or fine the Phillies left-hander?
A suspension would be too much for an incident that didn’t have any ugly fall-out during the nationally televised game. A fine would quick, easy and a slap on the wrists.
Either way, the real message was sent to Washington that the NL East still belongs to the five-time defending champion Phillies and they aren’t about to give it up just yet to a team like Washington.
Read all of Rizzo’s comments on the Washington Post’s website