At 67 years old and a baseball lifer, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland knows a little something about 'old school baseball.' The three-time manager of the year and former World Series Champion decided to weigh in on the Cole Hamels-Bryce Harper situation and believes strongly a five-game suspension doesn't fit the crime, that Hamels should have been disciplined much more harshly.
Speaking with Tigers play-by-play man Dan Dickerson on his pregame radio show, here is what Leyland had to say:
"I don't know the man," Leyland said of the Phillies pitcher. "I know he's a very good pitcher, a very talented guy, but when you come out and admit hitting Harper on purpose like that - that ball could have missed, hit him in the head or something else like that - and you come out and admit that, I think five games is way too light, in my personal opinion. And I would expect that if that was my pitcher, if my pitcher went out and, almost in a braggadocious way, talked about hitting a guy and that, 'I did it on purpose.'
"I felt the way I read it, and I don't know if the kid meant it this way, but it was almost like a braggadocious thing. That's not enough. There's no way."
"It upsets me because if you watch Major League Baseball, a lot of times one of your guys hits a batter, one of their guys hits a batter, the umpires are very quick to warn both benches about a situation like that," he said, "and a lot of times there's nothing going on at all, but they just want to stop something before it starts. ... This is a great time ... to show that we mean business, and I think this suspension is way, way too light."
It sounds like Leyland wants dramatic changes in baseball and Hamels has exposed what he perceives as a league-wide problem. Quite an interesting take coming from one of baseball's old hands.
The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports.
Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.
The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras.
The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity.
The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117.
Related: Nationals 2017 promotional schedule includes snow globes and fedoras
The Washington Nationals recently released the dates of their promotional days and giveaways this season, and there are some real gems in this schedule.
Among the standard bobblehead giveaways — Daniel Murphy on April 14, Trea Turner on May 12 and Tanner Roark on June 9 — and the highly recommended Pups in the Park days — April 29, May 13, June 10, June 25, September 7 and September 30 — pick the right game and you could get a snow globe, an American flag shirt or even a fedora. Seriously.
On May 24’s game against the Mariners, the first 25,000 fans will get a Max Scherzer snow globe, which has the potential to be the coolest knickknack in your house. Or on June 14 against the Braves — oddly not closer to the Fourth of July — Budweiser is behind the first 15,000 21-and-up fans getting an American flag tank top.
But truly the most unique item on this list is the Nationals-themed fedora, which will go to the first 25,000 fans at the Brewers’ July 26 matchup. How the Nats landed on this promotional item remains a mystery, but if you like hats beyond a traditional baseball cap, this is the game to attend.
Other cool or oddball promotions include the Nats Magic 8-Ball game April 3, the Chewbacca Koozie day May 27, Bryce Harper action figure day August 29 and Oktoberfest beer stein day Sept. 29.
Here's the complete list of the team's promotional days and giveaways.
MORE NATS: Bryce Harper knows why he didn't play well in 2016