View Photo Gallery: Bryce Harper responded to his plunking by stealing home.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels acknowledged after Sunday’s game in D.C. that he intentionally drilled Bryce Harper with a fastball in the ribs in the first inning.

“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I’m not going to deny it. That’s just — you know what, it’s something that I grew up watching, that’s what happened, so I’m just trying to continue the old baseball — I think some people kind of get away from it.”

Understandably, Nats general manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t a fan of Hamels policing the big leagues from the pitcher’s mound. And on Monday morning, he said as much in a phone interview with Adam Kilgore in which he called the act “classless, gutless chicken [bleep].”

Post columnist Thomas Boswell chose different words that expressed a similar sentiment during his Monday morning chat...

Q: Seriously, what exactly did Harper do to deserve that? I haven’t seen any signs of outrageous behavior other than Pete Rose-style hustle. Anything that you know of?
Boswell: The Phils/Hamels probably just made a big mistake. Hamels said, "I was trying to hit him" Harper: "It's all good. "
What if, as I mentioned, Harper actually does turn out to be Pete Rose with five tools? Sure, a long long way in future. Not talking about 20+ year career. Just the similarities as young players. A young Rose with more skills is certainly my first impression of Harper's style of play. If that analogy proves correct, then the Phillies may have just bought themselves years of Harper hell. He'll just use the "I did it on purpose" as fuel.
Are the Phils really that dumb? Well, maybe they just wanted to find out who/what they were dealing with in Harper. If so, they found out. 
The Phils, and manager Manuel, are ultra-old-school, proud of it and it's one of the reasons they've been so good the last five years. Harper got a "veteran's call" on Friday night when he wasn't called out on a checked swing. Manuel went nuts, got ejected — in effect, how dare you umpires show this 19-year-old rookie the respect you'd usually give a second or third-year player?
So, Hamels gave Harper a Welcome to the Show fastball — his best at 93 mph — in the back. It was hardball.
Harper, the rest of last night, more than any other game, showed what his competitive personality is. He stole home on Hamels, then got a single and stretch double off him and made a diving catch in left field so Hamels couldn't tag at third and score.
On the field, as long as he doesn't blow any kisses, Harper looks like just what the Nats need for energy. Off the field, he seems to get along well with teammates. We'll see if he haunts himself with any 19-year-old stuff. But so far, so great.

Read the full chat transcript here.

What’s your take? Do you agree with Post columnist Tracee Hamilton that the Nats-Phils rivarly is officially on now?


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