Washington Nationals rookie Bryce Harper finally got the call to the Big Show recently, and he’s made the most of his opportunity. After the May 6 game against the Philadelphia Phillies, the 19-year-old’s stats looked like this: .308 batting average, five of his eight hits have been doubles, 3 runs scored, and 3 RBI in just 8 games.
However, Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels felt like Harper’s red-hot start at such a young age was somehow failing to show respect to his elders, so he did what any elder would do: he purposely drilled Harper in the back with a pitch in the first inning.
”I was trying to hit him,” Hamels told the Associated Press after the game. ”I’m not going to deny it.”
”That’s something I grew up watching, that’s kind of what happened,” Hamels explained. “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. But I think unfortunately the league’s protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”
The self-proclaimed upholder of that prestigious way of old baseball certainly taught Harper a lesson that he’ll never forget, didn’t he? The teenager simply winced briefly and trotted to first base. He advanced to third base on a single by Jayson Werth—who later broke his wrist in the game—and when Hamels attempted to pick Werth off at first base, Harper successfully stole home to give the Nationals an early 1-0 lead.
The Phillies won the game, 9-3, but the Nationals took the first two of the three-game series to improve to 18-10 and remain in first place in the NL East. The Phillies, at 14-15, are in last place in the division.
So you can add a stolen base now to Harper’s major league stats.
Harper was so intimidated by Hamels nailing him that he promptly singled off of Hamels in the third inning. Then he doubled off of him in the 8th inning. Harper had gone 0-for-7 in the series prior to being hit by the pitch.
Two-for-three, a single, a double, a HBP, a stolen base, and a run scored for Harper on the day, courtesy of Hamels. That’ll teach that little whippersnapper.
Oh, and Hamels is likely to be suspended for five games by MLB and have to pay a fine for purposely hitting Harper with a pitch. The suspension will require shuffling the Phillies’ pitching order to accommodate Hamels’ next start being pushed back a day, but we’re sure that none of his affected teammates will mind. After all, getting into a rhythm doesn’t really have much to do with success on the mound.
The important thing is that the 28-year-old elder showed that snot-nosed little punk who the more mature player is and that he should be respected. As we all know, respect is owed to us all by the age of 28, simply for existing. That whole “respect is earned” thing is complete nonsense.
If some talented 19-year-old has a good first week in the bigs—primarily as the result of one good game against the Arizona Diamondbacks—that’s completely disrespectful. How dare he! Clearly, the only course of action here is violence.
There’s no word yet on whether Hamels took Metta World Peace’s course on “How to Screw Your Team in One Easy Step” or if he just came up with this brilliant strategy on his own.