The Nationals never had any doubt, from the moment Cole Hamels’s 93-mph fastball bored into Bryce Harper’s backside, that Hamels had done it on purpose. Afterward, in a statement that may earn him a fine and suspension, Hamels removed all ambiguity.
“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said. “I’m not going to deny it. That’s just — you know what, it’s something that I grew up watching, that’s what happened, so I’m just trying to continue the old baseball — I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything just because that’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”
Hamels had no clear reason to hit Harper – “no clue,” Harper said. There was no incident over the weekend that would have given Hamels motivation to nail him. The Nationals’ take: The Phillies are worried about them, and Hamels’ beanball showed it.