Cold Time Baseball

Some things are just so outdated. Bell-bottom jeans, the stay at home mom, saving yourself for marriage, Polaroid cameras. The list is endless.

You can add old time baseball to that list.

Apparently Cole Hamels did not get the memo because on Sunday Night Baseball, Hamels gave Bryce Harper a welcome to ‘The Show’ bean ball. He didn’t try to hide it either as following the game he told reporters “I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it.” He went on to say that “I’m just trying to continue the old baseball. Some people get away from it.”

There lies the problem.

In a certain sense, Cole Hamels should be respected for the way he manned up to the situation. Unlike in the American League, Hamels had to come to the plate and was subsequently hit very close to his left knee. He wanted to make his point and understood the consequences.

However, the attempt to carry on the tradition of old time baseball for the sake of carrying on the tradition of old time baseball is nonsense. This is a different age and old time baseball has no place in the MLB anymore. Things have changed since the 1960’s in case Cole Hamels hadn’t noticed.

There isn’t any logical explanation for continuing the tradition of old time baseball. Old time baseball is assault with a deadly weapon. Considering how much we now know about head injuries, it is just silly to think that players still believe that there is a place for throwing intentionally at other human beings.

Hamels said that he’s “not going to injure a guy” but how can he be sure to prevent that. Does he realize he is throwing a baseball more than 90 mph from 60 feet 6 inches away? Bryce Harper got hit on the back but what if Hamels’ pitch had gotten away from him. Pitchers do not have pin point accuracy. Hamels may not have been trying to hit Harper but the risk of injury is still there. I don’t think Metta World Peace ever intended to hurt James Harden but look what happened.

What’s worse is that Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper for absolutely no reason. Bryce Harper is a super phenom so Hamels felt it was his duty to send some sort of message. Too bad his message was in Morse code. His lesson to Harper got lost in translation. I can’t decipher it.

Maybe there’s nothing to decipher.

Hamels tried to justify his actions to the media. Apparently, this is how baseball is meant to be played and we should “let baseball be baseball.” Harper had done nothing to Hamels or the Phillies yet he believes that is baseball. Just because it was done in the past does not make it the way it should be now.

Slavery used to be an entirely acceptable concept in society. That’s the way it was. Times change.

Hamels said that he doesn’t “think umpires should interfere with it…I grew up playing the game hard and watching it, and that’s the way it was.” Yeah, last time I checked playing baseball hard doesn’t involve plunking a defenceless hitter. He also mentioned that “I’d hate for them to change it, which has kind of happened in recent years.” Truth be told, the MLB hasn’t done too much to prevent this. Both Hamels and Zimmerman stayed in the game after hitting their respective players. The umpires clearly decided not to interfere.

Contrary to what Cole Hamels thinks, the MLB should be doing more to protect their players. They are not doing enough. You might want to knock on some wood because it’s probably going to take a death or a severe brain injury before Major League Baseball takes a stance on this issue. Hopefully that day will never come around but this is an incident they can avoid before it happens if they so choose.

The whole idea behind old time baseball is about as wrong as Sarah Palin being Vice President of the United States. It’s not about a transition from tough to soft. It’s about a transition from stupid to sensible. The tradition adds nothing to the game of baseball except for unnecessary risks.

James Harrison can’t comprehend why Roger Goodell has cracked down on his behaviour with such force. It is for the greater good of the game and the safety of his colleagues. Harrison doesn’t see anything wrong with spearing Colt McCoy in the head.

Cole Hamels is “just trying to continue the old baseball…It’s that old school prestigious way of baseball.” The only place it should be prestigious at is the Graterford State Correctional Institution. Sadly, this wasn’t even vigilante justice from Hamels. It was an action without a motive that Hamels considers baseball.

Old time baseball is an archaic way of thinking and Cole Hamels, like so many, have been brainwashed into believing otherwise. There is no mutual respect for opposing players in the tradition. Attack for the sake of attacking. Our ancestors did it so there is no reason for us to question it. Tradition for the sake of tradition.

Give. Me. A. Break.

This wasn’t Cole Hamels taking care of business, whatever that business was.

This was Cole Hamels trying to perpetuate a backwards thinking style of baseball.

You can follow me on Twitter @paintstheblack and subscribe to Painting the Black to get the latest posts.

Agree? Disagree? You can also E-mail Chris at cross_can15@hotmail.com or reply in the comments section below.

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Star Unfairness

Roy Halladay pitchers for the first time at Rogers Centre in a Phillies Uniform

Being unable to challenge our current beliefs. It’s a black mark on our society. We continually accept things because it’s the way it has always been done. I wish we could change that.

Related: Significant Injury?

Sports are similar to life in so many ways. The elite of society get the benefit of the doubt. For example, rich men get beautiful women and the beautiful women are so often let off the hook.

In this sense, professional sports are no different.

The Wade’ and Kobe’s in basketball get more fouls called, the Brady’s and Manning’s in football get more yellow flags tossed in their favour and the Roy Halladay’s of the world get a bigger strike zone.

And here I am thinking that equality was something society strived toward.

The Blue Jays and Phillies game today featured Roy Halladay’s long awaited return to the city of Toronto. The game also featured some very inconsistent but typical game calling from home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez.

The fans sure let him know it and more so than any regular season game I have ever seen.

For 9 innings, Alfonso Marquez was giving the benefit to Roy Halladay while Blue Jay pitchers were forced to pitch in a confined strike zone. It all culminated in Blue Jay reliever Jon Rauch’s very amusing ejection. He had reason to be upset considering a 3-2 curve ball that caught the knees on Ryan Howard, that would have ended the inning, was called a ball. He blew up after the next batter, Shane Victorino, hit a single to drive in a run.

He didn’t blow up because of the one call though. It was the frustration of an entire game in which the better team and the better pitcher received better treatment. According to Pitch FX, the Blue Jays had 10 strikes called balls while the Phillies had 1.

The typicality in this kind of umpiring is nothing new. It is everything that is wrong with the mentality of society and how we see people above us. These people are special and we believe they should be treated in that way. Apparently, they have earned something that puts them above the rules.

Greg Maddux built a career on being able get strikes called on pitches thrown 3, 4 and even 5 inches off the plate. These were Pitches that batters had less of a chance at hitting than a chess champion has at picking up Jessica Alba. I guess umpires felt bad for Maddux and his perfect control. He needed extra room off the plate too.

The plate that is supposed to be set in stone. It is there for a reason yet umpires continually choose to expand it for stars like Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera. It makes great pitchers absolutely unhittable.

Star players haven’t earned the right to bend the rules and rookies shouldn’t have to earn the right to get calls within the rules. The rules are put in place to ensure fairness. Every single player should have earned the right to get the same call as the next no matter how many years they have played in the league or how many 0’s are in their contract.

Referees, umpires, fans, players, former players, writers and analysts all seem to find this appropriate. That should make us livid.

We expect superstars to get better treatment when it should not be the case. It is another one of those instances in society where we accept it because it is the norm and always has been.

Do you think it’s fair when multi-bizzilionaire Alex Rodriguez gets out of paying a speeding ticket and you don’t when you’re struggling to pay the bills with 2 kids and a second mortgage on the house? I didn’t think so.

It also isn’t fair for Carlos Villaneuva to have to fight for every strike when his considerably more talented counterpart Roy Halladay does not.

I’m not sure what makes me angrier. Star players receiving every edge imaginable or people unwilling to challenge completely illogical societal norms.

When are fans going to step and say that this isn’t okay? When are fans going to step up and say that we can’t ignore this any longer?

Talent across sports will never be on an equal plain but there is no reason why the rules can’t be. Stop excusing the problem with “he has earned it” and start challenging the issue at hand.

As similar as sports can be to life it still isn’t the real world. This might be a fact of life but it doesn’t have to be a fact in sports.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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Choosing the Philadelphia Phillies is a No-Brainer

Roy Halladay has pitched a perfect game and a no-hitter this season for the Phillies

By: Chris Ross

I’m not sure if I heard correctly, but I think the 6-year-old kid across the street chose the Phillies to take the World Series and how can you blame him?

With the jury still out on the bottom 3 of the New York Yankees starting rotation, the popular choice for World Champions is still the Philadelphia Phillies after they ousted the Cincinnati Reds in 3 straight games tonight. The team with the best record in the National League was able to shut down the highest powered offence in the NL.

Roy Halladay threw the first no-hitter in the post-season since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, and Cole Hamels going the distance in game 3 giving up only 5 hits and striking out 9.

It may be the easy route to take, but sometimes choosing the road most traveled is the best way to go.

The Philadelphia Phillies undeniably have the best starting rotation in the league and it showed once again in the first round of the playoffs that good pitching beats good hitting. The Phillies are either going to face the Giants or the Braves in the NLCS, but neither team should be able to give them a legitimate run for their money.

The Giants are up 2-1 in their series with the Braves, and probably have the best chance to upset the Phillies if they get the opportunity. I sound like a broken record, but the Giants have the pitching to do it. Like Roy Halladay, Tim “the Freak” Lincecum threw an absolute gem in his first ever post-season game. Although the Giants weren’t able to get the win in game 2, Matt Cain, who gets almost as little run support as Felix Hernandez, still allowed only 1 unearned run in 6.2 innings of work. To round out the “Giant 3,” Jonathan Sanchez has been a nice surprise this season, and since the all-star break has posted a 2.61 ERA, while throwing 7.1 strong innings in Game 3’s victory.

As Matt Cain knows all too well, runs are not easy to come by from this San Francisco team. The middle of their line-up is anchored by a rookie (Buster Posey) and a past his prime veteran in Pat Burrell. There is no way they are going to score the necessary amount of runs, which may not be that many, against the Phillies to upset them.

The Atlanta Braves, who are the other possible NL opponent for the Phillies, may have a better middle of the order than the Giants but with Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson, and Tim Hudson anchoring your rotation I don’t think they have much hope against the Phillies.

There is no way you can ever guarantee a team a series victory or a world championship because this is sports. Sports is so unpredictable, which is why us fans come back year after year to cheer for a team that is just going to end up competing for the same prize the next year.

With the Phillies though, I’ll take a line-up that boasts Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jason Werth, and Raul Ibanez any day of the week for my Major League team. Then, combine that with three guys that could all be a #1 pitcher on any given team, I think my only game plan to oppose that is making sure I go to church on Sunday.

If you want to show that you have some serious cohones then by all means go ahead and pick against the Phillies, but sometimes in life the choices that are the hardest to make are the ones that seem too easy.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at cross_can15@hotmail.com. I’m now on twitter follow me @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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