Braves 7, Rockies 2

Atlanta Braves vs. Colorado Rockies – Box Score – May 06, 2012 – ESPN.

Coors Field? Brandon Beachy laughs at you puny mortals and your Coors Field. Beachy tired in the seventh and gave up two runs (one inherited) but before that had a one-hit shutout going. The Rockies had one chance to score before the seventh, in the third when they had runners second and third with one out. Beachy struck out the next two. The kid’s just good is all.

The Braves took the lead with two out in the third when Freddie Freeman homered, scoring Michael Bourn and Martin Prado, who had each singled in front of him. The Braves loaded the bases with none out in the fourth, Jason Heyward scoring a run on a fielder’s choice groundout by Tyler Pastornicky. That was all they got because of a terrible squeeze attempt that turned into a double play. It even looks ridiculous in the play-by-play:

Juan Francisco caught stealing home, Tyler Pastornicky out at second attempting to advance on play.

Either just bunt Pastornicky over or let Beachy try to put the ball in play, Fredi. Anyway, Freeman tripled leading off the sixth, and Dan Uggla singled him home. A walk to Heyward moved Uggla into scoring position, and Francisco singled him home to make it 6-0. A reliever came in and got out of the remaining mess, though, getting Pastornicky to end the inning by grounding into a double play.

As mentioned, the Rockies finally got to Beachy in the seventh, getting two runs. He was removed at 107 pitched and Cristhian Martinez came in with the bases loaded. He almost got out of it with a double play, but anyway controlled the damage with only one run scoring. He finished the game and got the save. Uggla finished the scoring with a solo homer in the eighth.

161 thoughts on “Braves 7, Rockies 2”

  1. The Nationals are playing in the ESPN Sunday night game. How much gushing will there be over Harper?

  2. JJ with another good outing at AAA (still not K’ing batters): 8IP 5h 2r 1bb 3k

  3. MLB explained how other teams have learb how to pitch to holes in Harper’s swing today.

  4. is there a stat for coaching visits? … what is the best count to run out there and talk to the pitcher? who is the best coach in the “coaching visits” department?

    a “succesful visit” means the pitcher retires that very next batter after the chat.

  5. My thoughts from the game:

    Freddie smoked his homer into a strong headwind, that wasn’t a Coors field thing. Uggla’s homer was a classic Coors thing.

    I was pretty sure that squeeze was on, and judging by the defence Tracy was too.

    Some fan who had to run from the outfield wall to second base for a between inning contest faceplanted on the infield, which was hilarious.

    I watched Livan from just over the bullpen for a while, and it was just like the panda exhibit at the zoo. Durbin stretching was gross.

    Finally, I know we all appreciate Fredi’s new bullpen acumen, but not pinchhitting Chipper for the Lisp cost me my last chance to see him live barring a Rockies/ Braves playoff series. Dammit.

  6. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino both on pace for 515 outs made. That’s a pretty good total, but below Rollins’ personal best. If Utley would come back and Manuel would just stick Rollins or Burn-In-Hell at leadoff and leave them alone, they’d have a real shot at Omar Moreno’s 560.

  7. Fwiw, Harpers swing and load looks really long. He may have the same inside fastball struggles that Heyward has had.

  8. Maybe Harper should have at least ten hits in his major league career before ESPN inducts him into the Hall of Fame?

  9. I’m going to the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday games at Wrigley. Any other fellow Braves Journal people going to be in attendance ? Would love to meet up with fellow readers/posters.

  10. Here’s a little original research (using the BR.com play index).

    Cristhian Martinez’s 2 2/3 inning save is pretty rare in its own right, with just 12 occurrences of 2 2/3 inning saves in general since the 2000 season. Jesse Litsch did it last August.

    The last guy to get a 2 2/3 inning save with greater than a 3 run lead when he came in was Guillermo Mota for the Marlins on August 22, 2004. He came in with a 4 run lead and runners 1st and 3rd.

    Last guy to come in with a 5 run lead and get a 2 2/3 inning save: Mike Maddux, June 28, 1992 for the Padres, coming in with the bases loaded. So it’s been 20 years.

  11. I can’t complain about how Fredi used the bullpen against the Rockies. We got a three game sweep, allowed 19 runs and didn’t burn up our best relievers

  12. My BR-fu is lacking. Is there an easy way to find out how many teams have ever come back from 5-0 or more down three times in one week?

  13. @12,

    I don’t see anything. Then again, I pretty much had to brute force that 5 run thing by looking at each result, so I obviously don’t know all the tips and tricks anyways.

  14. I really like Beachy. Here’s some post game stuff from ajc.com:

    “I was feeling really good, getting ahead of guys. There were a lot of times where because of my slider being unreliable, I went 0-2 and then straight to 2-2 by throwing non-competitive off-speed pitches and letting them back in it. And that probably hurt my chances of going nine because the pitch count went up. But today was definitely a day when I felt good. That’s easiest to tell just by me getting ahead of these guys.”

  15. Tbe Hawks should not be allowed back into the city until they have collectively signed 2400 basketballs, “We will not play like drunken accountants on national television”.

  16. Cole Hamels is going to get a suspension. He admitted hitting Bryce Harper on purpose, because he was trying to bring back old-fashioned baseball. I doubt it would be more than a week, but I’d go higher.

  17. I admit it — I like Harper. Having these archetypal characters makes the game more fun, and stealing home after getting intentionally plunked was a straight up baller move.

  18. My liking of Cole Hammels went up a few notches. He spoke truth. Unfortunately, he also plays for the Phillies which means I now only want him to burn in the second or third layer of hell, not in the 7th layer with Victorino.

  19. Yesterday, 1) the Braves won, 2) the Nationals lost, 3) the Nats start RF broke his wrist, 4) Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch, and 5) one of the Phillies’ ace starters admitted doing it on purpose which should max out the suspension.

    That’s just a day so chock full of win you can completely ignore the Hawks game entirely.

  20. I just watched the video of Cole Hamel’s post-game remarks about Harper. It’s nice to see a soft-spoken and articulate defender of one of baseball’s great virtues, that of sporstmanship.

    It would be nice if the kid Harper would listen, but something tells me his self-absorption will keep him from taking in that important lesson.

  21. Wow. Harper looks like a great baseball player. I’m pretty sure I’m going to haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate him. :-D

  22. I’d be kind of surprised if Hamels was suspended just for admitting he threw at Harper. Seems like suspensions and ejections almost always go hand-in-hand. I would expect Hamels to be fined, though.

  23. @25,

    Why is hitting someone purposely with a baseball an example of sportsmanship? Who the hell is Cole Hamels to decide when to hit someone? If Strasburg drills Jimmy Rollins, will he like it then?

    As for Harper, apparently, you have decided that at 19 years old, Harper will never change.

  24. I can’t quite get my head around enforcing sportsmanship by throwing a baseball at somebody. I’d like Hamels better if he just called the kid an a$$hole instead of engaging in this high-minded posturing.

  25. Apparently the Phillies have “their next great rival” and they were in a swagger stand off with the Nats. (According to the recap on mlb.com)

  26. Or what Marc said.

    Anyway, Harper is just running around out there like the brash kid that he is, and I’m fine with that. I know I’d like it if he was on my side.

  27. @28 – “Who the hell is Cole Hamels to decide when to hit someone?”

    A person that throws baseballs in the general direction of other people. You know, I have to listen to every cliche and platitude that these idiots (baseball players) throw all out all the time. Sometimes it’s just nice to hear them be honest, and that goes for Hamels and Harper. If you have a problem with Hamels hitting him or Harper playing like the pampered child that he is and probably has been since T-ball, then you should see a proctologist about that stick up your arse.

  28. What about 4.2 innings of middle relief is supposed to make me vomit?

  29. #28/29: Have either of you ever played baseball for any length of time past, say, Little League? I’m not trying to be insulting when I ask that question. I ask because you guys sound like it’s the most alien concept in the world, when in reality, it’s pretty much the code that the very ballplayers (or the majority of them) we follow on a daily basis live by.

    It was taught to me by coaches in Senior League and high school baseball that there’s a line between showing off your talents and showing up the opposing players. One is natural, the other is abnormal.

    If you aren’t a good sport, except the game to retaliate with a little taste of what you’re dishing out.

    These are such elementary moral concepts. It kinda stunned me last year when I was made to feel like an immoral outcast after reacting negatively to Cody Ross’ bat-flinging antics. I hoped then, and still do, that he’d get stuck in the ribs by a Tim Hudson fastball at some point this year. It’s an action/reaction type thing. It’s the laws of physics. What’s the big deal?

  30. If Harper doesn’t want to get hit by pitches, he could behave like a man.

  31. “As for Harper, apparently, you have decided that at 19 years old, Harper will never change.”

    Ironic. No, I’m saying that he will change, and part of that change will come about by him subordinating his narcissism to a game that is bigger, older, tougher, and more wise, than he is or will ever be. Gary Sheffield used to be a douchebag, but at some point he got his priorities straight. Same can happen with Bryce Harper.

    Because as talented as he is, and he sure is, all I see is a douchebag racing around the bases and flipping his helmet off. And I loathe douchebags. As we all should. They shouldn’t be accommodated with sweets on top of a comfy pillow waiting for them at home plate. If he wants to be a douchebag and a villain, that’s fine. I’ve got no problem with that. But there will be a price to pay.

  32. 21—Totally agree. I’m becoming a big Harper fan. Barry Bonds excepted, I pretty much always take a liking to the players most fans of a given sport start hating.

  33. I don’t care that Hamels hit Harper. I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. My only objection is it being cast as an enforcement of sportsmanship. Like I said, if the reason is “he’s a punk, so I hit him”, I’m totally fine with that. But the Phillies didn’t gather in the dugout and decide he needed a lesson in sportsmanship. They just don’t like him. Good! I like stuff like that.

    As for the proctologist remark above…if anyone needs a stick removed, it’s somebody whose dislike of Harper is borne of some high-minded desire for propriety among gladiators.

  34. Sportsmanship is the abiding by the rules of conduct and interaction as understood by the sport at hand. Part of baseball’s long, historical concept of its own sportsmanship is a pitcher putting assholes in line with fastballs to the kidneys.

  35. I know that it is early for this, but the NL team could be loaded w/ Braves.

    Chipper, Beachy, Freeman, Bourn, and Kimbrell have really good shots.

    Hanson, McCann, Heyward and Venters have shots as well.

  36. I’m with sansho: I love Harper as baseball villain. If there’s one thing pro wrestling has taught us, it’s that life is better when you can divide your protagonists into babyfaces and heels, and baseball doesn’t have nearly enough people who revel in being a heel. We’ve pretty much got A.J. Pierzynski and Brian Wilson’s beard and that’s it.

    Bryce Harper could be THE premier baseball villain for the next 20 years, like a grass-stained Bill Laimbeer. I am pretty much giddy just thinking about it.

  37. @41

    Bah, they can call it whatever they want. It’s revenge and a desire to win. Which, again, I’m fine with.

  38. These are such elementary moral concepts.

    Well pretty clearly they aren’t, or everyone would subscribe to the idea that the proper way to discipline folks who don’t live up to your “code” is to throw a baseball at them.

    I was not taught to resort to violence to resolve issues that do not threaten my safety. Threatening someone’s career and health over some perceived affront to pride is just cowardly and juvenile, and to listen to advocates of this method imply that it’s actually some mark of masculinity, “professionalism” or personal fortitude is positively Orwellian. Really, pitchers that throw at hitters are the worst sort of p*ssy. Go slug the guy if you are such a badass. Taking advantage of your position to accomplish what you don’t have the sack to do face to face is pretty revelatory of the amount courage required.

  39. @28

    I’m not sure why you’re so upset about this. No one is saying that he won’t change. I’m sure he will. But acting like there’s no reason whatsoever why anyone should dislike Bryce Harper is absurd. He’s clearly a douchebag, and the media will not shut up about him. (Oh my God! He just caught a flyball! Isn’t that amazing?) This is sports. Since when did we need more of a reason than that to dislike somebody?

  40. Baseball has done lots of things over the years in the guise of “that’s how the game is played” including not having black players. Just because baseball players think it’s right doesn’t make it so. It’s certainly not sportsmanship. No, I did not play baseball past Little League. I also didn’t join a fraternity so I guess I can’t be upset about hazing.

    John, you specifically said that Harper was so self-absorbed that he would not learn his lesson. That’s why I wrote what I did.

  41. 45: Again, I ask if you’ve ever played organized baseball?

    You are projecting your own, personal moral notions – what you were taught about how to deal with “violence” in your everyday life – and projecting it on baseball players within the context of the game.

    I might suggest that’s not a good way of understanding why people like Cole Hamels did what he did.

  42. Yeah, pretty much the only time I’m OK with intentionally throwing at somebody is if their pitcher is intentionally throwing at your team. This bat-flip stuff isn’t sufficient.

  43. Marc, I understand that you’re not exactly drawing a moral equivalence, but I think it’s worth stating: there is a whole hell of a lot of difference between the color line and a beanball.

    In general, I agree with you regarding violence on the field, and I think that it’s appropriate that baseball has basically done away with on-field brawls, as well as vicious spikes-up slide tackles into second base, Ty Cobb’s old specialty. I think beanballs are much less of an evil than either one of these.

    (I also think beanballs are a lot less dangerous than full-body tackles at home plate, which many teams are trying to get their catchers to avoid in favor of swipe tags, following Buster Posey’s injury, even if baseball can’t explicitly legislate against that play.)

    Now, you could say that beanballs are still a mild evil and still deserve to be extirpated. I guess I see them on a continuum with brushback pitches, which in my mind are entirely fair game as part of the pitcher’s intimidation arsenal to control all of home plate. And it is part of a hitter’s gamesmanship to turn his uniform in just such a way as to catch a bit of the ball and get a first base for his team. I worry that overcriminalizing beanballs takes away the inside corner. But more than that, I just don’t think it’s that big of a problem, and I think that the terms in which you’re describing it — comparing it to the collusive exclusion of black players for a half-century — expose just how slight an issue it is by comparison.

  44. @49, I did play little league baseball.

    Can I throw something at you now because I didn’t like what you said?

    Defending a moral failing on the grounds of tradition seems like pretty weak sauce.

  45. @46,

    I hate this kind of “I don’t know why you are so upset” argument. I’m not that upset. I just expressed an opinion in response to what John said. I never said there was no reason to dislike Harper-he’s an arrogant pain in the ass. But disliking someone doesn’t mean you have to throw a baseball at him and to say it’s some sort of “sportsmanship” turns the concept upside down. And the whole concept is ridiculous when applied to professional sports anyway. There are these so-called unwritten rules that some things are bad sportsmanship-apparently, such as beign too excited,-and other things, such as cheating on the mound, are not. How come it’s ok to bowl over a catcher at home plate? These “rules” are arbitrary. Cole Hamels has decided that he needs to enforce this particular unwritten rule by hitting the guy. I understand these things are going to happen; clearly, given the culture of baseball, Harper was going to get hit. He will have to deal with the consequences of his actions and that’s fine. But don’t call it sportsmanship. And, John specifically said he wouldn’t change. I was merely saying that he’s 19 and it’s a bit early to write him off.

  46. #48: Thanks for noting that you didn’t play organized baseball. I think it’s important to not pass judgment on guys like Hamels, and to also give a free pass to guys like Harper to be an ingrate, to understand the culture that most – not all – players subscribe to.

    People are so entranced by Harper because his playing style is so far outside the norms. How can you not appreciate that without acknowledging what those norms are?

    I’m sorry, Spike, but drilling a douchebag in the kidneys? Unless he has a literal douchebag hooked up to said kidneys, it’s not “threatening someone’s career and health” to do such a thing. What a hyperbolic premise to build your case around. Not buying it.

    And to say that bat-flipping after a homer, or throwing one’s batting helmet in the basepaths as you run to second base, are “perceived” slights against another person’s dignity? “Perceived”? So it’s Cole Hamels that has the problem, not Bryce Harper? Give me a break.

    Drilling a guy as payback for crossing the lines of sportsmanship is far less likely to result in injury than slugging him in the face. And it’s for that reason that it’s more civilized. It’s a self-policing tactic, meant to keep the douchebags in line so they don’t have free reign to ratchet up the atmosphere of negativity and take players’ focus off of playing the game. If you want to call that Orwellian, go ahead. Might be an interesting debate to have. But I disagree.

    Bryce Harper is the pussy. Not Cole Hamels. If you took a poll of all major league players and field personnel and asked them “Who is the pussy?”, 99.9% of them would say Bryce Harper is the pussy, not Cole Hamels. At least acknowledge that before continuing to build your case that drilling a guy in the rumpus for being a douchebag is a bad thing.

  47. #47: “Baseball has done lots of things over the years in the guise of “that’s how the game is played” including not having black players.”

    Let’s not get absurd here. Jesus H.

  48. @51,

    I agree with you and it was a poor analogy on my part. My point should have been that baseball over the years has countenanced a lot of things under the guise of “how the game is played” that it no long does. Pitchers used to drill hitters simply for intimidation. Now, they don’t get away with that. So to dismiss this with the statement that this is the way baseball has always been doesn’t really resonate with me.

  49. 56: “And, John specifically said he wouldn’t change.”

    Did not.

    I said, “It would be nice if the kid Harper would listen, but something tells me his self-absorption will keep him from taking in that important lesson.”

    “Something tells me he won’t change…” is different from “He never will change.” I’m open to him coming around to not being a douchebag. Time will tell.

    Gary Sheffield was one of my most hated players when he was with the Brewers for displaying a similar brand of narcissism with which Harper is currently thrilling some of the folks here at Braves Journal. But something happened. He either matured or became very gifted at concealing his narcissism. By the time he made it to the Braves, he became one of my favorite players.

  50. @54, I am so glad that baseball has developed a foolproof system of defining who is a douchebag that needs drilling and who isn’t. That you are convinced that this is a completely safe and non-threatening behavior would lead me to ask you if you’ve ever been drilled by a big league pitch.

    And yeah, if you think flipping a bat or the position of where a helmet is dropped a grievious insult worthy of physical punishment, it is you with the problem. Sounds like a sense of entitlement the size of, oh, Bryce Harper’s at a minimum.

  51. Right or wrong seems irrelevant. If Harper acts like that he’s going to get hit. If not by Hamels then somebody else. Hamels was stupid to admit it though.

    Kudos to Harper for stealing home…huge stones.

  52. Man, we need an edit function. My post #57 was actually directed to #53, not #56.

    Marc, I don’t think pitchers should be able to wantonly drill hitters just for intimidation. That’s entirely different for drilling a guy because he’s being a douchebag, showing up his opponents and hurting the game.

    The day baseball becomes full of douches like Bryce Harper is the day I quit watching. I just loathe douchebags. I think they’re unmanly, lack virtue, and set a terrible example for children. I know that latter one must seem really unfashionable, but I don’t want to see Bryce Harper’s tics filter down into Little League, when kids should be using their time to learn the game, not preen.

    I was very uneasy when Deion Sanders played for the Braves. Most of his douchiness was off-field, though. If a douchebag wears a Braves uni, far from loving him and supporting him, I’m hoping that management will find a way to get that uni off of him as quickly as possible and move him on somewhere else.

  53. I’m not even all that upset about Hamels hitting Harper. I understand this is how pitchers enforce the “code.” I don’t want to take away the pitcher’s ability to throw inside and so forth. It’s a dangerous game and I respect their ability to step into the box and face the danger. But don’t try to place this on some moral plane; it’s much more like an initiation into a fraternity.

  54. I think they’re unmanly, lack virtue, and set a terrible example for children

    So clearly, the manly thing to do is hit them with a baseball from 60 feet away and set the example for children that if you disagree with anyone, the thing to do is hit them at a time they are relatively helpless and you have plausible deniability. That’s quite the bootstrappy rugged thing to do. I don’t want to see Cole Hamels act filter down to little League, where kids are supposed to be having fun instead of engaging in violence, score-settling and dick measuring.

  55. Well pretty clearly they aren’t, or everyone would subscribe to the idea that the proper way to discipline folks who don’t live up to your “code” is to throw a baseball at them.

    I think John mentioned this already, but the fact that you seem to think baseball’s code of conduct is either universally applicable to all human interactions, or it is completely inappropriate in total; that’s your problem, right there.

    If you randomly cross check some guy on the street, you’ll be charged with assault. If you do it on a hockey rink, you’ll get lauded for your tough play and understanding of the ways of the game.

    If you form tackle a guy on the street, you’ll probably get arrested. If you do it as he’s trying to turn the corner and break into the secondary, you’re working on your Pro Bowl credentials.

    Baseball has rules unto itself, and every person who has ever played baseball above Little League knows that and understands why those rules exist. As John says elsewhere, it’s a self-policing mechanism built into the game itself. And the chorus of people who are shocked – SHOCKED! – that such a mechanism is still at work in today’s game indicates that the fan base is becoming further and further removed from the game itself, as it’s played on the field.

    Yeah. I just sort of went near the “stat dorks in your mom’s basement” thing. I did that. Right there. Because it’s appropriate.

  56. 58: Spike, you’re talking completely around my argument. Slow down, son.

    “And yeah, if you think flipping a bat or the position of where a helmet is dropped a grievious insult worthy of physical punishment, it is you with the problem.”

    You sound like you want to argue with me. Your argument isn’t necessarily with me. It’s with the baseball players you’ve been watching since you were a kid. It’s their “foolproof system”, not mine. I happen to agree with it, and I’d happily employ if it I was lucky enough to be a player. But it ain’t me, babe. I’m not the one who created these unwritten rules, I’m not the ones who live by them and enforce them, I’m not the ones who talk about them to the media after the game, I’m not the ones who are out on the basepaths breaking them.

    I’ve never drilled someone, nor been drilled. Something tells me if I’d been drilled by a major league fastball, I wouldn’t like it much. You’re helping me prove my point, thank you. Also, if I was playing major league baseball, I wouldn’t play it in a manner that would require a purpose pitch to be thrown my way. So, again, you’re not really hurting my point in any way by bringing that up.

    Now, it’s up to you to prove that drilling someone in the mid-section with a purpose pitch for the crime of being a douchebag has led to serious injury. I’ll await your evidence that this is so.

  57. I don’t want to see Cole Hamels act filter down to little League, where kids are supposed to be having fun instead of engaging in violence, score-settling and dick measuring.

    No one throws at players in Little League. Which is why John asked “have you played baseball beyond Little League?” Little League is not organized baseball in the same way professional, college or even advanced high school baseball is organized baseball.

  58. John, I don’t think we disagree all that much. If Bryce Harper is this way when he is 25, I won’t enjoy watching him. Frankly, I lost all the enjoyment of watching Barry Bonds. But, the guy is 19 years old. Hopefully, Davey Johnson or some of the veteran Nats will take him aside and talk to him.

    I think we live in a era of celebrity culture when people think it’s cool to call attention to themselves. I don’t like it. I always liked players that were cool when they did something, like Hank Aaron. But, some of the vitriol towards Harper here seems a bit overblown. If he is still like that in a few years, that’s a different story.

  59. I’d dislike Harper’s act if he was just swanning about, but he’s doing it in the context of playing his ass off. My middle-aged self envies him his youthful exuberance, but mostly I enjoy witnessing displays of daring and audacity, so I’m a fan.

  60. I am shocked neither by the actions of baseball players or by tuff talkin’ keyboard kommandos. That doesn’t mean I think either are appropriate, although I generally refrain from comment on the latter. Cross checking and tackling are both expected and legal behaviors codified in the rules of their sports. Intentionally throwing a baseball at someone is not.

    But here I stop.

  61. So, Mike Rizzo really needs to get out of his mom’s basement I guess. Shame he never played past little league – makes you wonder how he got the job. If only he had the experiences some here have shared.

    Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo responded to Cole Hamels’ admission he drilled Bryce Harper on purpose last night in harsh terms, saying MLB should suspend Hamels and calling out Hamels as “fake tough.”

    “Players take care of themselves,” Rizzo said after [Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post] called him this morning. “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.

    “Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”

    Rizzo said player safety should take precedence and Hamels should miss at least one start.

    “With all the bounty [stuff] going on in professional football, the commissioner better act with a purpose on this thing,” Rizzo said. “Players have a way of monitoring themselves. We’re not here to hit people and hurt people.

    “He thinks he’s sending a message to us of being a tough guy. He’s sending the polar opposite message. He says he’s being honest; well, I’m being honest. It was a gutless chicken [bleep] [bleeping] act. That was a fake-tough act. No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school…”

    “This goes beyond rivalry and all that stuff,” Rizzo said. “This points to, you take the youngest guy in baseball. He’s never done a thing. And then Hamels patted himself on the back. Harper’s old school. Hitting him on the back, that ain’t old school. That’s [bleeping] chicken [bleep].”

  62. 66: I worry about young people like Harper, who obviously has narcissistic tendencies. Are they as bad as Ryan Leaf or John Rocker, say? Not sure. Part of the ill feeling that roils around in my tummy when I see the manner in which Harper plays is my fear for him. Like Rocker and Leaf, when that narcissism takes full flower – especially as millions of people lift you up for it and feed off of it – it can lead to very dark places.

    If for some reason Harper’s skills evaporate on him, I know the way the world works and it will not be kind to him. I never liked Ryan Leaf, talk about a douchebag. But I don’t take any pleasure in seeing what’s become of him and how people beat up on him. It’s pitiful.

    Harper’s lucky now because his skills are so obvious. And maybe he’ll have a Bonds-like career that will, at least on the field, protect him a little bit. But being a douchebag does not make people like you in any real, abiding sense. It seems even around here, the people that express a liking of Harper have the audacity of his douchiness as their central premise. Being contrarian isn’t the worst thing in the world, but when I am a contrarian, it’s rarely on behalf of a douchebag. But that’s me.

    Anyway, purpose pitches as I have described are meant to be instructional, a curative. Like I said earlier, it’s not all about vengeance and hate, or even a little bit about that. The message Hamels sent – “Hey, if you like dishing it out, why not try a little taste of it?” – is hardly violent or anti-social. It’s a harmless little shock to the kid’s system to build awareness that he’s gotta temper his antics a little bit.

  63. He hasn’t earned the nickname like “Burn in Hell” Victorino, but Cuddyer may one day earn the Michael “Al” Cuddyer moniker.

  64. 71: Thank you for sharing the opinion of the Nationals General Manager!

    All due respect, it’s a lot of gibberish. Harper is “old school” and Hamels stoic reaction is not? Harper can’t be “audacious” and “old school” at the same time. Doesn’t work.

  65. So first you appeal to authority based on your athletic experience, and then reject it from someone who clearly is an authority. And he’s not the only one to have ever spoken this way about the practice.

  66. Wait a minute, spike. Rizzo’s comment essentially says: There are known circumstances in which beaning a guy is acceptable. This is not one of them.

    If you’re endorsing Rizzo’s comment then you have to acknowledge that’s the subtext of what he’s saying. And I would tend to agree with him.

    Look, as a fan, I don’t want my team throwing beanballs and giving free baserunners. But I also don’t like pitchers getting weeklong suspensions. (Then again, I don’t like Cole Hamels either, so I’m not crying for him.) I thought it was absolutely ridiculous two years ago when Cliff Lee got suspended for five games for throwing behind a hitter — not even hitting him — in a spring training exhibition game.

    Obviously I’m not saying that beaning is always acceptable. I’m just saying that it is not always reprehensible.

    Also, sure, I’d be happy to get on board with a declaration that youth sports should not serve to reinforce violent aggression in young boys, but rather attempt to redirect it into more useful pursuits. But kids, lest we forget, are cruel. That’s not a good thing — it just means that you’re going to have to dig a lot deeper than baseball to get to the root cause of nerds being stuffed in lockers.

  67. “Fake tough?”

    I do believe that Hamels got drilled in retaliation for hitting Harper last night, as those ‘unwritten rules’ of baseball seem to call for, and just strolled on down to first.

    Hamels may have been chickenshit for doing it or not, depending on your viewpoint, but fake tough he isn’t.

  68. Rizzo’s comment essentially says: There are known circumstances in which beaning a guy is acceptable. This is not one of them.

    100% disagree. “Players take care of themselves” means Harper’s teammates are the ones responsible for policing his discipline.

  69. @76

    Remy, Harper got hit in the bottom of the first, so Hamels *knew* he was coming up. I thinkhe wound up getting plunked in the top of the fourth.

  70. @76

    Remy, Harper got hit in the bottom of the first, so Hamels *knew* he was coming up. I thinkhe wound up getting plunked in the top of the fourth.

  71. #82

    Thanks. At least Hamels was prepared to face the consequences of his actions. There’s nothing more chickenshit than an AL pitcher beaning an opposing player and then sitting in the dugout while one of his teammates gets plunked.

    This whole Hamels-Harper episode reminds me of when Terry Pendleton walked off the field because Marvin Freeman refused to throw in retaliation.

    I’m okay with a pitcher throwing behind a batter.

  72. @80

    I don’t know that he meant it that way, but it’s what I believe — any lesson in sportsmanship cannot come from a member of an opposing team, because that person is acting as a member of his team, not as a member of the fraternity of baseball players, no matter what he may say afterwards. And if Harper can goad the opposition into taking actions detrimental to themselves, then it’s on them for getting suckered.

  73. Can someone list all of the “bad things” Harper had done in the majros? Don’t cite the incidents in the minors, either, please.

  74. “So first you appeal to authority based on your athletic experience, and then reject it from someone who clearly is an authority.”

    Not so simply, no. Rizzo obviously has experience in organized baseball as a player. But as a GM, he’s hardly someone I’d go to for unbiased opinion on the matter. After all, he’s the guy who drafted Harper. And Harper is only the guy who is going to be an anchor for the Nationals – for better or worse.

    “And he’s not the only one to have ever spoken this way about the practice.”

    I never said everybody feels this way. Most do. The majority, in fact. But Bryce Harper obviously doesn’t, and that’s why we’re even talking about this. There are transgressors against unwritten codes of baseball sportsmanship. What a shocking concept!

    Keep your eye on the ball, though: Can you imagine Bobby Cox or John Schuerholz defending Bryce Harper so extravagantly? Did they do so for Deion or John Rocker? Didn’t they pack up and ship out Yunel for the crime of kinda being a douche?

    Rizzo’s completely within bounds to want to protect his investment. I’m surprised he’d go all-in, though, by describing Harper as “old school”. That’s so plainly absurd that it makes him look like a fool.

  75. Mike Rizzo just took a series of baseball events that were contained to the field in a single game and turned it into something that will spiral on over multiple games. Good job, Mikey!

  76. Can someone list all of the “bad things” Harper had done in the majros?

    Exist.

  77. I think the Phillies should throw at Rizzo during the next Winter Meetings for this unbearable stain on their honor.

  78. #83: Agree, with the caveat that we ought not conflate a pitcher headhunting because he’s an evil sumbitch, and a guy like Hamels throwing a purpose pitch. Those are not the same thing at all, be it AL or NL.

    The description of Hamels actions on the field, and the quality and demeanor of his post-game interview, really make me respect the guy. Unfortunately, he’s a Phillie. So after I’m done admiring him, I gotta go back to hating him.

  79. Yunel got shipped out for tanking (IMO!!) while being a douche. But no, I couldn’t see them going that far out on a limb for Harper, either. We practice dullness as an organizational philosophy around here….

  80. Spike, I guess you and I just read the comment differently. What I see is Rizzo explaining the specific circumstances of why this beaning is unacceptable: Harper is extremely young and hasn’t really done anything beanworthy: “He’s never done a thing.” From that, I infer that Rizzo isn’t arguing against all beanballs.

    But you read the line, “We’re not here to hit people and hurt people,” and you infer that Rizzo’s against all beanballs. In any event, beanballs are clearly on the wane in baseball. And I won’t really miss them.

    I just don’t like the way that baseball has gone about attempting to criminalize beanballs, which seem to me overly hitter-friendly and pitcher-unfriendly. If a pitcher hits a hitter, both clubhouses are often warned, which essentially penalizes the team of the plunkee, whose pitchers effectively lose the inside of the plate, because their pitchers have to be nervous that if they are wild and hit a guy, they could be ejected and suspended.

    But hitters are almost never correspondingly punished for not getting out of the way of the ball and taking first base when they could easily dodge it. They also aren’t punished for doing the kind of things for which, traditionally, a beanball was seen as acceptable retaliation: admiring their own home run balls, showing up the other team, sliding overly hard in a way that could hurt or injure the pitcher’s teammate.

    Beaning is seen as retaliation for a reason. If you want to criminalize it, you need to criminalize the things for which pitchers retaliate.

  81. I honestly cannot believe there is even this much debate about this. Yes, we do not resolve problems with violence. Martin Luther King would be proud of our virtuosity. But this is not fencing or tennis, this is baseball. It didn’t start yesterday. Baseball has a long history of brawls, beanings, beating armless spectators, players playing drunk, players playing high, dealing drugs in the clubhouse, players sleeping with each other’s wives, managers beating their wives, players injecting animal steroids, etc…they aren’t bowing to each other out there on the field before the game.

    For lots of reasons, including most of the ones listed above, baseball is a game I fell in love with. It is interesting. It is historic. No they shouldn’t fight every game. No they shouldn’t hit each other with baseballs….but sometimes they do (as alluded to by Mike Rizzo). And most times it is interesting. Reading about what kind of scones Cole Hamels likes at high tea every afternoon is not.

  82. 72—Amen. Soap Operas f

    I played past Little League, and I’m with spike. It’s OK to want accepted traditions that are stupid changed.

  83. Yunel got shipped out for tanking (IMO!!) while being a douche. But no, I couldn’t see them going that far out on a limb for Harper, either. We practice dullness as an organizational philosophy around here….

    I prefer the organizational philosophy of dullness, myself. I am only interested in clubhouse drama in player’s memoirs, not in that days’ sports pages. I really like baseball because it’s baseball and I love my team, the Braves. I don’t like it because there’s douchebags running around on the field preening, and despite spike’s silliness, I feel qualified to have my own opinions about what does and does not constitute a douchebag.

  84. @94, since there is clearly disagreement about what the unwritten rules even ARE, let alone what the penalty ought be among the participants themselves gives the lie to the notion that this is some internally consistent and therefore acceptable practice.

    @92, Just enforce the rules. There is a strike zone, and a requirement for the batter to move that is codified. How about we just you know, do that. And intentional beanings are criminalized because by any reasonble interpretation, it’s criminal behavior.

  85. @97, It would seem a very fortunate thing that you are the sole arbiter of who is a douchebag.

  86. Would the argument be any different if, say, the pitcher retaliated by throwing an eephus pitch?

  87. @97

    Right — I think it’s part and parcel of being an Atlanta organization as opposed to, say, a San Francisco one. More people here are repelled instinctively by extraneous displays of (douchery, flamboyance, arrogance, showmanship, impoliteness, take your pick), so you can’t run a business that celebrates or defends it.

  88. Should say, “Soap operas for men are awesome.”

    When I want “soap operas for me”, I read comic books and go watch The Avengers.

    When baseball becomes too much like comic books, it loses the appeal that gives it substance in the first place. We play it as boys because we aspire to be exceptional men. Comic books are fiction. Baseball is a very real thing, with a continuity driven home by men who are empirically superior at a skill few can attain.

    Spike has made a running gag out of the way I look at concepts like “honor” and “dignity” and “sportsmanship”, as if I can’t believe in those things and also think it’s within Cole Hamels’ right to send a message to Bryce Harper. I disagree. Different worldviews. C’est la vie.

  89. Oh, and just so we remember this is a Braves blog – I agree that Fredi did a better than OK job in handling the bullpen this weekend.

  90. 103—Who says there can be just one?

    Sure, baseball is real, and the realness is why I find internal regulation via beanball deplorable — but it’s still just entertainment, which is why the drama around Harper, Hamels, and Rizzo is so great.

  91. Spike has made a running gag out of the way I look at concepts like “honor” and “dignity” and “sportsmanship”, as if I can’t believe in those things and also think it’s within Cole Hamels’ right to send a message to Bryce Harper.

    Right. That’s exactly what I said. Sportsmanship is clearly best illustrated by throwing a baseball at someone. Honor is admitting you did so. Dignity is claiming that this act is justified because of where someone put their helmet or how they tossed their bat.

    The fact that you can’t make the affirmative argument for your position without resorting to logical fallacies has nothing to do with it.

  92. @105 & 106:

    Fredi’s bullpen management has improved directly as a result of Chad Durbin and Livian Hernandez’ placement on the 25-man roster. Discuss.

  93. At the risk of being accused of groupthink, I will confess that I, too, have generally found Fredi’s bullpen use this season to be acceptable. That said, I am scared stiff of the quote from the previous thread that Jonny Venters has shoulder pain. Jonny Venters is not allowed to have shoulder pain. I mean, we can all agree on that, right?

  94. If something is not done about Bryce Harper, and soon, Major League players will be shamed into running out grounders and popouts, and that can not stand.

  95. Fredi’s bullpen usuage has improved because he can usually count on 6 innings from the starters and he has at least 4.5-5.0 decent pitchers (O’Ventbrel, Medlen, .5 Lisp, and .5 Fatvan) now to get through the 7th-9th.

    and yes, Venters and ‘shoulder pain’ should be against standard English usage in the same sentence.

  96. #108: Logical fallacies? Nah. Just different worldviews.

    #112: C-Mart only gets half a point? He’s got the best overall numbers in the bullpen. Seriously, go look.

  97. Fredi’s bullpen usuage has improved because he can usually count on 6 innings from the starters and he has at least 4.5-5.0 decent pitchers (O’Ventbrel, Medlen, .5 Lisp, and .5 Fatvan) now to get through the 7th-9th.

    It’s amazing how much better a manager becomes when his starters go 6 instead of 5.

    And agreed on the Lisp. He’s quality this year.

  98. Apparently quite different worldviews – in mine sucker punching a defenseless opponent out of frustration that you can’t beat them fair and square on the field is considered the act of cowardly, unmanly, punk a## b*tch. Hamels might as well get a tattoo that says “I am not as good as Bryce Harper”.

  99. Francoeur was called up on July 7th. His numbers at the start of play in August 2005:

    .413/.413/.913, 1.326 OPS, six home runs.

    Harper is starting off worse in the majors than Stankoeur.

  100. Win the fucking game. Don’t like how he acts? Beat him. Harper didn’t like getting hit, he stole home f’ing plate.

    Freeman got hit yesterday, so he hit the ball to Yuma.

    Ruizhit that big homer in Atlanta, and walked all the way to first base. Chipper hit a walkoff and ran the f’ing bases.

    They get paid to win games. They don’t get paid to look cool. Don’t out-cool him. Win the f’ing game.

    And further, those characters who play the game the wrong way, show up the other team, act in an unsporting, self-important manner and do all the things that sports-as-character-building-device teach young people not to do… Those guys make GREAT teaching devices for parents, and coaches, and the developers of young men and women… You know, the people who are SUPPOSED to be raising our kids? I might note that this, along with being cool, is NOT Bryce Harper’s job.

  101. #115: You said several posts ago “but here I stop”, Spike. I’m trying to wind this thing down, too, but if you insist on keeping the conversation full throttle, it would be nice if you didn’t try to score points by tearing down outlandish cartoon versions of what I’ve said.

  102. @118, I was expressing my own views in my last post. You are free to do so as well. And I will stop too – but the claim that “anyone who plays above the little league level” sees it your way is a fallacy that needs to be pointed out. There are numbers of ballplayers past and present that don’t see it that way.

    Everybody who ever played at a high level agrees with you on the unwritten rules except those who don’t, and apparently they are just speaking gibberish.

  103. I’m an NHL fan, so Harper getting plunked doesn’t resonate much with me one way or the other.

    I’m more surprised that Hamels would admit it, but then again he’s the guy who called the Mets “choke artists” on NY sports radio, so maybe he enjoys being the heel.

    If it makes Harper more apt to beat up on the Phils (as opposed to the Braves, maybe), then fine with me.

    But, yeah, mostly, I’m digging the pro wrestling show.

  104. Ok, 5.5 decent relievers. (and that’s a correction of my error I’m HAPPY to see!)

    :)

  105. And to go a bit further, the way these “douchebags” act, reveling in their own glory, patting themselves on the back in front of others, “showing up the other guy;” these are natural human tendencies. It’s natural to be proud, and it takes restraint to “act like you’ve been there.”

    These are the very lessons we use sports to teach. Don’t be a sore loser, don’t be a proud winner. Parents and coaches can point to Harper, and let’s be honest, myriad other pro athletes, and show that these individuals missed these important lessons.

    They can also use these characters to teach kids how to handle people who treat you unfairly, or disrespectfully. And “drill him in the ribs next time up” is lazy advice, and is a missed opportunity to REALLY build character.

    And like I said, raising my kids isn’t Harper’s job, likewise, it isn’t Hamels’s job to teach my kid restraint. But this argument can’t go both ways. “Morality on the field is different from morality in the real world,” and “what kind of example does it show for the children?”

    I’d advise my kid to drop his bat and run when he hits a homer. I’d advise my kid to redouble his efforts if he doesn’t like the way the other guy acts when he beats him.

    I don’t think “Yeah, that kids a douche, huh son? Just drill him. See how he likes that,” is parenting. But, I guess when my kid turned out a douchebag, I could just blame it on Bryce Harper and video games.

  106. But, I guess when my kid turned out a douchebag, I could just blame it on Bryce Harper and video games

    Don’t sell yourself short, man. You’re probably equally to blame too.

  107. @121- I don’t see the irony. He didn’t just win the fucking game. He had to make himself the center of attention, and cost himself a run, and risk injury to his own players via retaliation, before he went and won the game.

    That’s not “just win.” That’s “preen, and then back it up.”

    And before you say “yeah, but it was Hamels that they retaliated against,” that was far from a given. That generally doesn’t happen. It’s usually a position for position, or batting order for batting order game. It was Pence that Hamels was hanging out to dry.

  108. …the claim that “anyone who plays above the little league level” sees it your way is a fallacy that needs to be pointed out…

    Spike, reading is fundamental. I enjoy arguing with people save those who say I’m saying things I’m not saying.

    Here’s what I said: “Have either of you ever played baseball for any length of time past, say, Little League? I’m not trying to be insulting when I ask that question. I ask because you guys sound like it’s the most alien concept in the world, when in reality, it’s pretty much the code that the very ballplayers (or the majority of them) we follow on a daily basis live by.”

    I didn’t say “anyone” or “everyone”. I said “many” or “the majority”.

    Everybody who ever played at a high level agrees with you on the unwritten rules except those who don’t, and apparently they are just speaking gibberish.

    No, I never said everyone agrees with me. The fact that I acknowledge that Bryce Harper exists and I support an unwritten code in opposition to his douchebaggery ought to make it self-evident to everyone that I don’t also think “everyone agrees with me.” Except to someone who just wants to argue and not listen.

    And yes, a lot of what Rizzo said is gibberish. Apart from Bryce himself, there’s no person more on the line for Harper’s success than the GM that drafted him. Maybe his mother would be more unbiased, but not having met the woman, I won’t say for sure. If I was his GM, I’d have found a bit more reality-based way of backing up my player than saying he’s “old school” – again, that is so asinine a statement to make it makes me question Rizzo’s competency – while at the same time talking to the youngster behind the scenes saying I’m willing to give him as much backup as I can until my own back is against the wall and it can go back no more.

    The kid’s only been in the game 8 days and he’s already got veteran All-Stars throwing at him. That’s a problem for him and his team. Nothing Rizzo’s said addresses that.

  109. What did Harper do that so irritated Hamels sense of the integrity of baseball?

  110. Nyjer Morgan is a quality heel, complete with Hulkamania jersey-ripping action.

  111. UNPRECEDENTED RESILIENCE!

    Sorry to derail the Harper thread, but I was inspired to actually carry out my first Retrosheet calculation.

    I downloaded all 169,059 games for which Retrosheet has a boxscore. Then, writing a little code, I found the 1,799 games in which the winning team came back from 5-0 down or more. I then found the 137 teams who did it 3 or more times per season. I then calculated the times it took them to have three such comebacks.

    The 1949 Boston Braves and 1997 Anaheim Angels held the record before this week — five days: 5/28,5/31 and 6/1 for the Braves and 5/12,5/14 and 5/17 for the Angels in tehir respective seasons.

    The Tigers deserve an honorable mention for doing it twice in a single doubleheader on 7/30/1938.

    Retrosheet is really cool.

  112. How the hell can you know this to be true that “every ballplayer or the majority” subscribe to your opinion? That’s just an assertion.

    And “veteran all-star players” throwing at Harper is a problem for the all star player, not Harper. Because you can’t do it forever. In fact, I’d say Harper has done his team a bit of a service. I can’t wait to see what happens in terms of league discipline if Hamels hits him again or even dusts him. He’s already admitted to throwing at him.

  113. Of course I can’t count. The former Braves record beats the Anaheim record by 1 day.

  114. What did Harper do that so offended Hamels?

    Did turnover a second baseman for no reason? Did he barrel over a catcher? I don’t know what he did that got Hamels so up in arms.

  115. Hamels remembers how his 2009 comments that he couldn’t wait for the season to end induced his own teammate to assault him, and wants to help Harper avoid a similar fate

  116. Harper is purely a media creation. What’s he done in the majors to justify so much orating on him here?

  117. I’m serious. Did Harper do anything in the series?

    Or does he just swing too hard, run too hard, wear makeup and his smile looks too much like a smirk?

  118. @140, Philly is in last place, and had dropped the first two games at home to a Nats team they are “supposed” to own. Harper has done nothing to them that I know of.

  119. @132 I agree, and @141 Nyjer Morgan has an OPS+ of eight, and the Brewers are in last. I’ll bet you aren’t seeing much of Tony Plush these days.

  120. Harper has done nothing to them that I know of.

    Is this the tack now? Pretending like his very public persona since he was in high school just disappears into the ether and everyone pretends like he’s an unknown quantity instead? That much learned forgetfulness probably qualifies you as a bodhisatva or something.

  121. Since when is it incumbent on Cole Hamels to stick up for baseball? As Bob Tufts (actual pro baseball pitcher) said on the BBTF thread, “I never heard of hitting a players because they were viewed as a hot dog or arrogant.” Although his time in the bigs pales in comparison to other’s post-little league experience, I think this reliably establishes that there doesn’t seem to be an unwritten rule for it.

  122. @133 – Very good work. This is really enjoyable baseball so far, especially compared to what I expected sometime around the second week of March.

  123. What does Cole Hamels care if Sports Illustrated puts a 16 year old on the cover?

    What does Cole Hamels care if he blew some minor leaguer a kiss?

    What gives Cole Hamels the right? Who nominated Cole Hamels Integrity Czar?

    They always say “this game will humble you.” Seems to me that Cole Hamels thinks he shouldn’t have to wait for the game to get off its ass. Who’s putting himself above “the game” again?

  124. @152
    On June 7, 2011, Mike Schmidt addressed this:
    “I hate to bring this into it, but I would think at some point the game itself, the competition on the field, is going to have to figure out a way to police this young man,” Schmidt said. “If indeed his manager won’t, the game will end up taking care of it.”

    It is what it is. Play ball!

  125. You sure can spot who’s still jealous of Kelly Leak after all these years.

  126. On June 7, 2011, how many major League games had Harper appeared in?

    Is this the tack now? Pretending like his very public persona since he was in high school just disappears into the ether and everyone pretends like he’s an unknown quantity instead? That much learned forgetfulness probably qualifies you as a bodhisatva or something.

  127. And with the kiss thing… If that kid, the pitcher, was walking down the street, and Harper had mugged him, what makes us think Hamels would lift a finger in his defense? But blow him a kiss on a baseball field, and now a year later, its Hamels job to teach Harper a lesson? Hogwash.

    And the story I read had that pitcher as the one who last took it upon himself to out Harper in his place. There’d been jawing and HBP’s in that game, and Harper got the last laugh. The fact that he proceeded to make a fool of himself has nothing to do with Cole Hamels.

  128. Mike Schmidt considers himself the arbiter of “how we played baseball in my day.” I respect Schmidt as a player but just because he was a great player doesn’t mean he is right in everything he says.

    Harper is obviously annoying and I wish the Nats would talk to him about it. I suspect he will get over it as he grows up. (Full disclosure: I do root for the Nats except when the play the Braves so I’m not fully unbiased.) As others have said, I don’t see that it’s Cole Hamels’ place to decide when the integrity of baseball needs to be upheld by hitting someone.

    As for his “public persona since he was in high school”, so now Cole Hamels can throw at Harper because of what he did in high school? What did he do, steal Cole’s date to the prom?

    If Hamels wanted to hit Harper to teach him a lesson, then do it and shut up. But don’t act as if you embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way.

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