Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels has been issued a 5-game suspension by the MLB for admitting to intentionally hitting Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper with a pitch in the first inning of their game this weekend.
In essence, this means Hamels’ next start will be pushed back by a day and nothing more really comes of the incident beyond a fine which he will be able to pay with ease.
It’s an interesting case study in how players handle the media and how much truth they actually should choose to interject into their dealings going forward.
Some are suggesting that Hamels indeed might have been better off to never open his mouth and admit to hitting Harper intentionally, regardless of what he thought it meant for himself or his team, and I agree.
If Hamles wanted to develop an “old school” reputation for being a pitcher that commands his mound and won’t be shown up, the right thing to do would have been to just hit Harper then abjectly refuse to comment afterwards, no matter how much, or how often, he was hassled by the media.
Instead, Hamels chose to do the exact opposite and raised the hackles not only of Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo but many baseball fans and pundits in the process.
It’s a lucky decision for the Philadelphia Phillies who can now just re-shape their rotation to ensure that Hamels gets an extra day off in between starts and things then return to normal.
No harm, no foul.
Sometimes the punishments handed down by the MLB and the other administrative offices of the professional leagues don’t really take into account just how damaging the suspensions actually are to the team for whom the player does his work.
If the MLB wanted to make a point that they won’t allow pitchers to intentionally hit batters, and then admit to doing so, they punishment given to Cole Hamels should have been much more substantial.
In this case, it was an opportunity lost for Bud Selig, but after all, should that really be a surprise?
Nope, didn’t think so.