Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Cole Hamels Suspended 5 Games For Hitting Bryce Harper

Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper with a fastball, and said he did it on purpose. He has accordingly been suspended by Major League Baseball.

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Bryce Harper Passes Another Test

Ozzie Guillen yelled at Bryce Harper for strange reasons and called him out after the game. Harper didn't do anything in response. Looks like this really is what Harper is like.

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Nationals GM Mike Rizzo Fined For Hamels Comments

When Cole Hamels admitted throwing at Bryce Harper, he crossed a line.

That's why Hamels got a five-game suspension.

When Mike Rizzo ... well here's what the Nationals' general manager did (via The Washington Times):

Rizzo ripped Hamels' actions and comments to The Washington Post on Monday.

"I've never seen a more classless, gutless, chicken (expletive) act in my 30 years in baseball," Rizzo said. "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-old rookie who's eight games into the big leagues? He doesn't know who he's dealing with.

"He thinks he's sending a message to us of being a tough guy. He's sending the polar opposite message. He says he's being honest. Well, I'm being honest. It was a gutless, chicken (expletive) act. That was a fake tough act. No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school."

Hamels was suspended five games and was also fined as Rizzo was fined for the second straight year. Rizzo was fined and suspended one game in 2011 after an altercation with umpires following a game at Citi Field in New York.

Rizzo's been fined an undisclosed amount of money, but the amount probably isn't anything he can't afford. Hamels, in addition to his five-game suspension, was also fined but it probably wasn't more than $10,000. So you can imagine how much Rizzo might have been fined.

Why was Rizzo fined at all? No, probably not for saying gutless. Or classless. Or even chickenshit. No, what probably got Rizzo fined was He doesn't know who he's dealing with. That's got the vague hint of a threat, and escalation, and (egads) more violence. To which Major League Baseball must make some response, however tepid.

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Cole Hamels Will Not Appeal Suspension

The headline was originally going to be "Cole Hamels Not Appealing Suspension", but then the headline would include "Cole Hamels Not Appealing" and I don't think I'm one to pass judgment. Bryce Harper probably doesn't find Cole Hamels appealing. Lots of other people probably do find Cole Hamels appealing. Different strokes.

Anyhoo, Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper with a fastball and said that he did it on purpose. That was Sunday night. Monday, Major League Baseball suspended Hamels for five games. Ordinarily when a player gets suspended he immediately files an appeal, but it would take some real stones on Hamels' part to appeal a suspension he received specifically because he said he drilled a guy on purpose. Some real stones, indeed. Mike Rizzo's right, Cole Hamels is gutless.

Yeah. Hamels will accept and serve his suspension, and the casual observer will barely notice that Hamels had even been suspended. It's punishment without being punishment, which is par for the course with these things.

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Is 5 Games Enough For Cole Hamels?

Of course five games isn't enough.

Or wait, maybe it's too much.

No, of course it's not enough. Cole Hamels bragged about plunking Bryce Harper for no particular reason.

The math here is really easy. If Hamels serves his suspension during a five-game stretch in which the Phillies have a day off, Hamels won't really miss even a single start.

This current stretch, for example. Hamels pitched Sunday, the 6th. The Phillies have Thursday off. Hamels' would normally pitch Saturday, with five days rest. Instead he will serve his suspension and pitch Sunday, with six days rest; meanwhile, Roy Halladay starts Monday night against the Mets, and can pitch again Saturday on his usual four days rest, which he might actually prefer.

So Hamels might be slightly inconvenienced, waiting an extra day to pitch and thus falling out of his routine. Pitchers love their routines. But Halladay gets to stick to his routine. If you project all the way through the end of the season, and assume a) the Phillies will need to win every game, b) neither Halladay nor Hamels ever get hurt, and c) Halladay is better than Hamels -- and those first two assumptions are pretty shaky -- the Phillies actually benefit from this suspension, because Halladay might actually have gained a start while Hamels might lose one.

Then again, nobody wants to be suspended. It's a hassle. There might be some slight deterrence with a five-game suspension for a starting pitcher ... but if so, it's oh so slight.

If you're really looking for deterrence, you would have to suspend Hamels for nine games. In this case, if Hamels were suspended for nine games, in that ninth game the Phillies would have to either start Halladay on short rest or call upon someone they truly don't want starting: a reliever, or someone from the minors. That would be a deterrent, because then the suspendee would actually feel like he had let his team down.

There's a problem here, though ... Suspensions are built on precedent. I doubt if a pitcher has been suspended for nine games for throwing at a hitter. Which means if Hamels appealed his nine-game suspension, he would probably win and we're right back where we started.

So what's the point of it all? Major League Baseball has to do something. Sure, it's only a slap on the wrist, but you must remember that most of what Major League Baseball does, when these things come up, is designed for public-relations purposes. They couldn't do nothing. That would have looked bad. So they did something slightly more than nothing. Which is better than nothing.

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Cole Hamels Receives 5-Game Suspension For Throwing At Bryce Harper

Cole Hamels did something that players have done thousands of times in baseball history: fire a fastball into a young punk's ribs to learn him a lesson 'bout the big leagues and such. But Cole Hamels also did something unusual afterward. He admitted that he threw at Bryce Harper. That didn't sit well with Major League Baseball, and the hammer came down on Monday:

This means that Hamels will probably appeal, though, and then right as the Phillies have a properly timed off day that allows another starter to make a start on his normal rest, Hamels will suddenly decide to drop his appeal, which will push his start back a day. He'll sure think this one over now.

And with that, our long national nightmare is over. I'm sure that no one will ever, ever throw at Bryce Harper again.

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Cole Hamels And Ratcheting Up The Hyperbole

Sunday night, Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper with a pitch, and then he owned up to doing it on purpose. What a coward! What an unthinkable act, what gutless behavior!

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