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.