Yesterday, Cole Hamels intentionally threw a pitch at Bryce Harper (video). While Bryce Harper was on base, he stole home, and Cole Hamels was bit by Jordan Zimmerman when he came up to the plate. Clearly, Hamels lost the battle, but more importantly, it was kept on the field and it was over and done with.
Today, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that they would suspend Hamels for five games, basically one start. The length of the of the suspension is not the issue. The issue is the knee-jerk reaction of MLB to hand out suspensions for hitting their current “golden boy.” I’m not against Bryce Harper, in fact, I really hope he blossoms into a superstar and transcends the sport to attract new fans, but getting hit by a pitch, even intentionally, is part of the game.
Bryce Harper seemed to understand that when he trotted to first without a word to Hamels, or anyone else on the Phillies. Hamels seemed to understand it when he trotted to first after getting hit by a pitch. What will come of Zimmerman? Was he also in the wrong for hitting Hamels? It was just as intentional. Where should it end?
I have written many times about this subject in the short history of this blog, and I concede that I will probably have to write about it many more times. Pretty soon, pitchers are going to get so hamstrung that they will throw everything down the middle for fear of a suspension or hitting a batter. It’s ridiculous. I do not applaud Cole Hamels for hitting Harper intentionally, but I do applaud his honesty.