Cole Hamels admits to beaning Washington Nationals' star Bryce Harper

By Chris Shelton

For some, sports like baseball and golf are considered the last bastions of the collective sports nostalgia of the nation. For others, baseball and golf are dinosaurs that need to be taken out to pasture at some point.

In my opinion, baseball is handcuffed by the past. 

Baseball rivals the NCAA for punishable offenses (though in baseball most are unwritten). An apt comparison to NCAA violations just shows how outdated the sport has become on several issues.

For one, the baseball umpires have too much power. You can be thrown out of an important game for “showing up” the umpire. The sport is still reluctant to embrace technology. Instant replay is still in baseball infancy compared to the progressive NFL.

And pitchers still stand by the old guard standards of retribution. Pitchers will plunk batters for staring at a homerun to long, stealing a base in a blowout and in defense of a teammate among other reasons. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, Cole Hamels added a new wrinkle into the frame.

Hamels hit Washington Nationals budding star, Bryce Harper, basically because he’s too good, too fast and getting credit for it on a national stage.  Hamels used history as justification.

“That’s something I grew up watching, that’s kind of what happened. So I’m just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is,” Hamels said.

“But I think unfortunately the league’s protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball,” he said.

Hamels said, “It’s just, ‘Welcome to the big leagues.'”

His honesty in the situation is refreshing but it highlights a bigger issue in baseball.

“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I’m not going to deny it.”

To bean a guy for these flimsy reasons is just dumb. It’s a microcosm of baseball’s problems.

In life you have to evolve. Baseball refuses to do so. Baseball has no birthright to be a major American Sport.

I’m not predicting baseball’s downfall. Between that and placing the antichrist label on world leaders, many have fallen flat on their faces with that prognosis. But the decline from America’s second favorite sport to its third is right around the corner.

The demographics paint that picture. Advertisers will soon begin flocking more to the NBA because young males watch.

Baseball is America’s pastime. A baseball game on a midsummer night is unrivaled in the world of sports. The game is a great watch in person. It has intrinsic value. But it has major issues.

Hitting players purposefully is a safety issue. You can cause bodily harm with an instrument traveling 90 miles per hour.

Pitchers have pinpoint accuracy and theoretically could pick spots to hit that aren’t detrimental to a hitter’s career or his immediate health. But what if Hamels was clouded by anger at the time? What if Harper leans the wrong way and breaks a bone?

After, the Nationals retaliated and threw at Hamels. The cycle is stupid, especially if your reasons are so immature.

Even great players believe that throwing at players is part of the game. I accept that. But if it does have to happen, have a good reason.

Can we stop with the unwritten rules and the proverbial handcuffing? It’s not 1955 anymore.



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