Spring Training games are usually emotionless contests, void of the pressures and passion that make regular season games so worthy of our rage. But baseball is at its most fist-pumping when players are tearing out of their respective dugouts to turn a lovely afternoon at the park into a bloodbath of savage cleat-kicks and children’s tears.
Today, we pump our fists for Cole Hamels, who, along with the Astros’ Bill Hall, are sure to bring such a traumatizing moment to life this season.Is there a more significant symbol of baditude than the beard?
When Cole showed up at Spring Training with one, we should have known that his transformation from 2008 World Series golden boy/squeaky voiced advocate for Comcast’s Triple Play to cold hearted monster had come complete. Now, perched on his face like a murder of sinister crows, the scruff influences him to think beyond just getting the out–he’s got to torture the hitter.
Bill Hall hadn’t planned on threatening a man’s life when he stepped into the batter’s box, but fate, it seemed, was prepared to twist his intentions. Carlos Lee had just punished a Cole Hamels delivery and finished circling the bases moments before. Cole was in no mood to wait around, and quick-pitched the approaching Bill Hall. As Hall stepped out of he batter’s box to reflect on the Opening Day home run he hit on April 2 of 2007 (Is it safe to assume this is the memory he retreats to every time he calls time out at the plate? Yes) and the zero other interesting things he’s accomplished since then, he had no idea of the hammer he’d brought down upon his own head.
He knew several seconds later, however, when Cole dusted off his uniform with a highly inside fastball.
“I am shouting !” Bill Hall yelled at Cole, taking several steps towards the mound. “I am shouting at you because it’s intimidating! You are intimidated now!”*
Cole waved off the undoubtedly poetic stanzas of hostility Hall had for him and the game continued. Ignoring the pleas of his beard to escalate the incident into a post game fist fight or vicious insult war for the press to feed on, Cole offered nothing but shrugs when asked for a follow-up.
But Bill Hall found himself obsessed with the incident, and cracked the door to his bedroom, where he’d been sobbing into a pillow for the last two hours, in order to answer reporters’ questions on the matter.
“He’s definitely a marked man for me now,” Bill said with a whimper in his voice as he wiped some snot off his nose. “… so when I do some damage off him, I’m going to let him know I did some damage off him. I can guarantee that.”
“If you disrespect me, I’m going to do my best to disrespect you back,” concluded the winner of the 2006 Good Guy Award.
He then locked the door and all that was heard from inside for the rest of the day was the muffled blasts of Avril Lavigne’s Under my Skin.**
Rest assured, Cole Hamels made a powerful enemy today. If he offended some powerful person after the game.
*None of this has been/can be confirmed.
**Again, I can’t stress enough the unconfirmed nature of this information.