Even though I'm fond of the Washington Nationals and their new rookie phenom Bryce Harper, I'm not disagreeing with Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels' decision to hit him with a pitch in the first inning of last night's game. But what I do find shocking is that he admitted he did it on purpose:
"I was trying to hit him. I'm not going to deny it."
Everyone knew what was going on. Why would you admit it? It almost certainly means a suspension.
"It's something I grew up watching. 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. That's the way, and I respect it. They can say whatever they want."
Harper, by the way, handled it perfectly. He simply walked to first base and eventually stole home. Booyah!
In other baseball news, you may have heard that Albert Pujols is having a rough time adjusting to his new team. He was below the Mendoza line this weekend when he hit his first home run of the season. But what his teammates did is awesome. For background, Pujols "had played 28 regular season games and taken 110 at-bats as an Angel without showing the power that earned him a 10-year, $240 million contract in the offseason." This after hitting three home runs in a single World Series game last year.
OK, so he finally hits a home run and his teammates all ran to the clubhouse as he rounded the bases. When he got back to home plate expecting to high-five everyone, no one was around. They thought it would be funny to leave him hanging there. And they were right. So kudos to Torii Hunter for orchestrating that.
But back to Hamels. Is the conservative position that he was right to be honest about what he'd done? Or did he violate baseball traditions by admitting he plunked Harper on purpose? Before I had kids, I would have thought he was wrong to be honest. But now I actually appreciate his truth-telling.