The Nationals organization is furious that Cole Hamels nailed their 19-year-old phenomenon Bryce Harper in the back on Sunday night.
Hamels told reporters, "I was trying to hit him. I'm not going to deny it."
This did not sit well with Nats' GM Mike Rizzo.
On Monday, Rizzo spoke with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Not only did Rizzo express anger over the entire situation, but he also called for Hamels to be suspended.
Players take care of themselves. I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball...Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.
Rizzo went on to compare the plunking to the bounty scandal in the NFL:
With all the bounty [stuff] going on in professional football, the commissioner better act with a purpose on this thing. Players have a way of monitoring themselves. We’re not here to hit people and hurt people...He says he’s being honest; well, I’m being honest. It was a gutless chicken [bleep] [bleeping] act.
It is clear that this is only beginning with the Nationals and the Phillies. At this point, it would not be surprising if Hamels misses some time, since he flat out admitted what his intentions were.
The Phillies needed a boost to get going this season, and perhaps Hamels thought this was the way to do it. It worked on Sunday night, but the next time these two teams meet things might get dicey.
Hamels is not the first guy to hit an opposing player on purpose, but he is one of the few guys to admit to it.
These two teams begin a three game series on May 21st in Philadelphia.