In case you (a) live under a rock or (b) just aren't into consuming sports in the current 24/7 climate, surely you heard about what happened last night in Washington.
Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper. Harper took first base and made his way all the way around the bases, stealing home. Afterward, Hamels came around to admitting he plunked Harper on purpose. Harper seemed OK with it.
And then, today, Washington general manager Mike Rizzo went on the offensive, calling Cole Hamels pretty much every name you can say in a PG setting.
Hamels is likely to get suspended; not for hitting Harper, but for admitting he did it on purpose.
It's been, well, fun?
But one of the things I found most interesting in Rizzo's comment today was that he didn't seem as mad at Hamels for hitting Harper as he did for Hamels' candor afterward. The Nats GM didn't like what he thought was boasting.
"(Harper) has never done a thing. And then Hamels patted himself on the back (for hitting him)," Rizzo said. "Harper’s old school. Hitting him on the back, that ain’t old school. That’s [bleeping] chicken [bleep]."
OK, so not everything he said was PG-rated.
But back to the point. Anyone who knows Hamels or listens to him talk on a regular basis (present company included) can say this much about the 28-year-old, Southern Californian: he's not the best at biting his tongue.
No, Hamels isn't of the sector of modern athletes who simply says thing to get a rise out of people; he says things without a filter. He's honest - which most people usually want from their athletes - but sometimes he's almost too honest; Hamels doesn't always monitor whats coming out of his mouth until it's too late.
The most famous Hamels' foot-in-mouth moment came during the 2009 World Series, when he made the following comment after losing Game 3 to the Yankees.
"I can't wait for it to end," Hamels said of what was a personally frustrating season. "It's been mentally draining. At year's end, you just can't wait for a fresh start."
That comment was not received well. But in the context of that postgame interview, Hamels didn't sound like someone who was complaining about his own struggles as much as someone who was just mentally drained from a bad game and a season that didn't quite play out like his storybook 2008.
Another New York team was involved.
Hamels did a radio interview in December of 2008 - less than two months removed from winning a World Series MVP. He was asked about the Mets back-to-back late season collapses that paved the way for the Phils' division titles in 2007 and '08.
"Last year and this year I think we did believe that [they were choke artists]," Hamels said. "Three years ago we didn't because they smoked everybody, and I think we all thought they were going to win it all. Unfortunately that didn't happen."
"But, yeah, that's kind of what we believed and I think we're always going to believe that until they prove us wrong. For the past two years they've been choke artists."
Now, having listened to the interview at the time, deciding if it was something worth writing about, it was clearly obvious that the the WFAN radio hosts baited Hamels into calling the Mets "choke artists." They kept saying "choke artists" until Hamels would repeat it. It was shameless, but it worked.
And, even if it wasn't his intent to use the words, Hamels still said them and couldn't take them back.
More recent examples?
The Phillies offense has failed to find consistency this season, in case you hadn't noticed. When the starting pitchers are asked on an almost nightly basis about little run support, they almost always deliver a politically-correct answer, not wanting to stir up trouble or offend their teammates.
But in each of the last two starts, Hamels alluded to the offensive struggles. Here is what he said just six days ago, after a 4-2 game in Atlanta gave the Phils five wins in their last seven games.
"We still have a lot to do," Hamels said. "Hitting-wise, we were able to get a lot of big hits. But we have to do it early on and keep putting the pressure. We just can't get a few runs and then score when things get tight again. We still need to run through what we're capable of doing. ... We have to keep plugging away. I still think we have a lot of work to do."
That gives you an idea of what we're talking about here. Hamels is honest, sometimes brutally so, as if he can't help himself.
From the perspective of last night's postgame interview, that's exactly what it felt like. At first, he didn't want to come out and say he hit Harper on purpose.... but then his mouth began moving and he told every detail except the time and place he was when he decided he would hit Harper.
Hamels didn't boast about the play; he was just a victim of once again saying something that he probably would have liked to take back shortly after saying it.
He's made a habit of doing that. And he's also aware of it.
"Sometimes I might not say the best things or the smartest things, but I've learned and am learning," Hamels said after his can't-wait-for-it-to-end comments in 2009. "I wasn't able to sleep the past couple of nights because of it."