Philadelphia Phillies: Has Cole Hamels Put a Target on His Back?

Jonathan IrwinContributor IIMay 9, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25:  Starting pitcher Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies sits in the dugout during the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 25, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phillies defeated the Diamondbacks 7-2.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Let me begin this article by stating I have no personal beef with Cole Hamels.

I did not particularly agree with his decision to plunk Bryce Harper. I'm not sure how hazing a 19-year-old rookie with a pitch in the back is "old school," but at least he didn't aim up and in. Nonetheless, it's over and I feel indifference towards the situation.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hamels, the MLB may not agree.

We already know the commissioner's office does not. Hamels' role in Sunday night's plunking fiasco—featuring his left arm and the Nationals' prize prospect—was suspect from the start. Then, he admitted to the media that he did it on purpose.

There are two opinions on his admittance. One says that he was being a man and straight up about the situation. The other says that it was obvious he did it on purpose, but admitting it is just being a glutton for punishment.

Well, come Monday, Bud Selig wasted no time in handing Hamels a five-game suspension. Not that it matters, because those things are like slaps on the wrist these days and seem to mean nothing to players.

Unfortunately for Hamels, the MLB police their own and he may have just put a target on his back.

Cole Hamels, the 28-year-old component of the "Big Three," is no stranger to controversy.

Things started at the beginning of his 2008 season, in which he made several statements about being underpaid. At the end of that season he made his infamous "the Mets have been choke artists" proclamation. In the 2009 World Series, Hamels told the media "I can't wait for it to end" after his Game 3 start.

So, here we are adding one more Cole Hamels controversy to the record books. While those other incidents weren't necessarily posh, they didn't involve player safety. Plunking Bryce Harper however, did.

The MLB is already sounding off on the incident. Mike Rizzo, general manager of the Washington Nationals—and founder of the Bryce Harper fan club—has already made his not so PG view of the situation known. Early Tuesday, long time skipper Jim Leyland also called out Hamels.

There's already been retaliation on the field as well. Jordan Zimmerman, who was starting for the Nationals in Sunday's game, made sure to send a wayward pitch Hamels' way during his first at bat.

With Hamels constantly finding himself in these situations, it may be time the rest of the league does something about it. At the least, I doubt the back and forth between the Phillies and Nationals is over.

While the Marlins are as much rivals to the Nationals as they are to the Phillies, who can forget Ozzie Guillen—the king of MLB controversy—is now in Miami. I wouldn't be surprised if he sent an errant pitch Hamels' way in their next series.

Whether or not things will stop here is unknown. Perhaps the rest of the league agrees with Hamels' sentiments towards Harper. Perhaps they don't. All I know is that things have suddenly gotten much more interesting in the NL East.


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