Mike Rizzo then suggested that Hamels’s decision “ain’t old school. That’s [bleeping] chicken [bleep].”
I’m pretty sure Cal Ripken is old school. And he sided with Rizzo on this one.
Here’s a bit of dialog between Cal and brother Billy on MLB Network Radio’s Ripken Baseball, talking about the incident.
Billy: “It bothers me. I didn’t like his explanation: this is old school. It’s not old school. “
Billy: “By any stretch. This is one way of him saying I don’t like the way Bryce Harper has come up here in the big leagues and gotten all this attention, and oh by the way is raking, so I’m gonna drill him on the first pitch. That’s not old school. It really isn’t. In fact, what old school was was the fact that he hit him, Jordan Zimmermann hit Cole Hamels later in the game, and it’s over. The umpires handled it right. They understood that Jordan hit him on purpose, in my opinion. And it was over right then and there. Nobody gets suspended. Jordan Zimmermann’s not getting suspended for doing what [actually was] in the old school text of baseball.
Cal: “Usually there’s a spark for why you do it. Somebody bunts when you’re up eight runs, or you’re stealing third base when you’re up 10 or 11 runs in the seventh inning. There are real reasons on how you play the game, and embarrass the game. That’s old school. But just to come up and drill somebody for no reason, I don’t remember that being old school.”
Billy: “[Harper] hits comebackers to the mound and tries to beat the play out at first base. I actually think that’s the way the game was designed to be played, instead of veering off at the 45-foot mark into the dugout and being thrown out easily.”
Meanwhile, Fox Sports’s Ken Rosenthal evidently disagrees with Rizzo and the Ripkens and sides with Hamels. This comes from a video he did for FoxSports.com:
“Mike Rizzo has got to be kidding me,” Rosenthal said. “Rizzo, in calling Hamels gutless and classless and fake tough, c’mon. Talk about an overreaction....I seriously doubt that any fan had a problem with it, maybe except for a few Nationals fans, and I can be quite certain that most people in baseball applauded it.
“This was old-school stuff, the kind of stuff that Old Hoss Radbourn on Twitter raves about every day, if you know what I’m talking about there. Hey, Hamels was not trying to hurt Harper; he hit him on the backside, the fleshy part of the body which is where pitchers always send their messages. This is not a situation akin to the NFL bounty-hunting scandal, which of course Rizzo likened it to....
“Players tend to take care of these things themselves, and Harper sent his own message on Sunday night, stealing home. That is exactly the way the game should be played, the way it used to be played, the way it was played when Frank Robinson would get knocked down and get up and hit a home run.”
Harper steals home
Nats announcers predict Harper’s stolen base
Harper says he’s old school