Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels freely admits he intentionally hit Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper with a pitch in the first inning of Sunday night’s game.
“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I’m not going to deny it.”
The move -- and the blunt admission afterward -- is likely to cost Hamels a suspension from Major League Baseball. But at least he had a good reason for plunking the 19-year-old emerging star ... right?
“That’s something I grew up watching, that’s kind of what happened. So I’m just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is,” said Hamels, who came into the big leagues in 2006.
“But I think unfortunately the league’s protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”
Hamels added, “It’s just, ‘Welcome to the big leagues.’ ”
Harper showed his appreciation for the lesson in old-school baseball by stealing home on Hamels later in the inning.
“I think he kind of did that for me,” Hamels said.
But the youngster took the high road when asked about the incident after the Nationals’ 9-3 loss to the Phillies.
“Hamels threw a great game tonight,” Harper said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.