The fact that this photo is courtesy of "FamousHotBoyfriends.com" is sort of all you need to know about Cole Hamels' 2008 offseason.

Cole For Christmas

I was recently having a conversation about feral cats.

“They capture them in the wild and spay or neuter them.  Then they cut the tip of their ear off so they can tell from far away if it’s one they already took care of, and won’t waste their time,” a friend told me.

I forget who “they” was.  I also forget why “their” time was valuable too waste.

But what it did make me think of was Cole Hamels this offseason.  Last year, he was charming the pants off America with that devilish smile and telephone poll-like physique.

America’s pretty easy, though, they forgot to tell him.  America will take it’s pants off for pretty much anybody.

America’s not worth skimping on the workout regiment to flirt your way across the talk show circuit.

So, Ruben Amaro and the Phillies trapped Cole under a cardboard box, brought him in, and snipped off a part of his ear.  Next time, they’ll know.  Cole’s been taken care of.

“Last year, most people were looking at him as a top-of-the-rotation guy,” Amaro stated, elbowing his way into the swirling cloud of dissent that surrounded Cole’s locker during the postseason.  “… and that’s exactly what I believe he is.”

Sounds like a man who’s looking after his investment.

It’s only Christmas, and Cole’s been apparently throwing for a month.  He’s reported to be landing in Clearwater before anybody else.  Rich Dubee’s got plans for a breaking pitch.

A ferocious, effective Cole Hamels would be a ray of sunshine for this rotation.  For a lot of people, the idea of a 1-2 strike at the top of the rotation took the last flight to Seattle, courtesy of a strange-thinking Phillies brass.  To see his offseason efforts come through as the equal to a combination of starters we almost had would be a optimal, and it is not especially fair to Hamels to assume Halladay is our only ace.

Stray cats are tough.  Sure, maybe once in a while they’ll run away, or throw up a mouse head on your daughter’s birthday cake, or make misconstrued comments on a sports radio talk show, or suck.  But the potential’s there, and if they’re willing to work on it, we may get that 1-2 punch yet.  One thing’s for certain.

This is no longer about feral cats.

STRAY BULLETS

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Tags: Cliff Lee Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies Rich Dubee Roy Halladay Ruben Amaro

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