Usually when a pitcher hits a batter in Major League Baseball, he explains it as a pitch that got away. It is not often a professional hurler admits he hit a guy on purpose. Well, Cole Hamels may just be that old school, or whatever that makes him. If you ask Nats GM Mike Rizzo, it makes him anything but.First, here is what Hamels said to The Washington Post after the game on beaning 19-year-old Bryce Harper in the back with a fastball.I was trying to hit him, Hamels said. Im not going to deny it. Thats just you know what, its something that I grew up watching, thats what happened, so Im just trying to continue the old baseball.Hamels had no particular reason to hit Harper - the youngest player currently in the game - there was no specific event he seemed to be retaliating from. Harper even told Adam Kilgore of The Post he had no clue as to why he was hit.
Not having a clear reason for the act and going after one of his most prized assets was not something Rizzo took kindly too. This is what he told Kilgore about the sequence. The Post reporter caught up with him last night after the game, clearly still bothered by what had gone on.Players take care of themselves, Rizzo said. Ive never seen a more classless, gutless chicken bleep act in my 30 years in baseball.Cole Hamels says hes old school? Hes the polar opposite of old school. Hes fake tough. He thinks hes going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year rookie whos eight games into the big leagues? He doesnt know who hes dealing with.Rizzo goes on and uses the word chicken bleep several more times and says this goes beyond rivalry.For the rest of his comments read Kilgores take right here. It sounds like the Philadelphia-Washington has been taken up a notch. Keep in mind this was the first series between the two teams of the 2012 season.
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store
Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract.
On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop.
It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series.
Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster.
Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.
The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda.
There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.
MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others