Cole Hamels: Pitcher Shows Respect for Bryce Harper by Plunking on Purpose

May 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Fan News

Starting pitcher Cole Hamels intentionally hit rookie sensation Bryce Harper with a pitch on Sunday during a Philadelphia Phillies loss to the Washington Nationals.

We know the plunking was with purpose because Hamels actually admitted as much. According to Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the pitcher stated:

I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. 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.

In a way, Hamels’ act and his roundabout way of apologizing/explaining it shows a great deal of respect for the 19-year-old OF.

Philadelphia was letting Harper know that the team actually fears him and wants to get him off the inside of the plate. The Phillies have seen what the kid has done during his limited plate appearances and do not want to get burned as well.

During the three-game series between the two teams, Harper was at the plate 10 times, garnering two hits and four walks while striking out just twice. The Nationals also won the first two games of the weekend matchup.

It was time that Hamels—only 28 years of age, but an old soul—made the decision to keep the young man in line and teach him to respect the veterans in the league.

It’s certainly not going to be the last instance in which an opposing pitcher gets fed up with the well-hyped phenom and throws a ball inside at him.

When Harper was asked about being HBP, he didn’t have much to say.

According to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN), he said, “Hamels threw a great game tonight.”

Harper actually made Hamels pay for the beaning later in the inning. As the pitcher was attempting a pick-off throw to first, the rookie decided to imitate Ty Cobb and make a break for home. He successfully stole the base and scored a run.

The Phillies ended up winning, 9-3, but most importantly, this rivalry may have just been kicked up a notch due to Harper and Hamels. 

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies