Aaron Boone: Cole Hamels-Bryce Harper Bean “Not Very Smart”
Which begs the question: What was he going for? And at the expense of what?
Because if the aim of Hamels (point where, if Hamels didn’t come out and say he did it on purpose, we’d make some witticism about his “lack of aim”) was not only make a statement (the plunk) but punctuate it with an exclamation point (the admission), on the grandest stage possible (say, an ESPN national telecast?) and to the NL East leaders (who, for record, had already beat you twice that weekend, once in side-gashing, once in tear-jerking fashion), consider that mission accomplished.
And if copping to it after was pre-contrived by the team, whose key decision-makers include maybe the most old-school skipper in the sport, Charlie Manuel, who might not feel rubbed right by a 19-year-old rolling up to the bigs with all the bluster in the world, landing in the three-hole (reserved for the team’s best hitter) just days later and leading the charge, who knows? Maybe one measly start against the Padres (the only start Hamels would miss if suspended for five games, as was Ubaldo Jiminez in spring training for thwacking and then charging the plate at Troy Tulowitski) was totally worth it.
All that said, you get the sentiments of baseball insiders like Aaron Boone, who joined Mike Gill on 97.3 ESPN-FM Monday to talk the matter out, who might’ve let out a “SMH” on Twitter after.
Said Boone: “I don’t know if it was over the line, I just don’t know if it was very smart.
“I think on one hand, it’s a little refreshing that he came out and was honest.
“But from the Phillies standpoint, if nothing’s said about it, then nothing happens. Now you’re probably looking at a five or six or whatever game suspension.”
And that’s the most blaringly obvious consequence. Makes nothing of what’s less foreseen and more unintended.
Said Boone: “And I think even moreso than that, now, the next time they play the Nationals, there’s gonna be a mandate before that series. The umpires are gonna be alert. There may be warnings before a game even starts.
“And it looks like the way you wanna pitch Bryce Harper is to be able to attack him in and in off the plate. You might wanna move his feet, you might wanna knock him down at some point. You may have disarmed yourself of being able to do that.”
A point with which we pointedly agree. However reluctantly.