Cole Hamels had a collection of baseball cliches to report the other day, among them, “We can’t take the back seat and hope that we can coast through,” and “We really have to go after it from the very beginning.”
The Phillies may want to consider the back seat in 2013, as it would put them at a lower risk for bodily injury should the season become the train wreck 2012 was at times.
Hamels also discussed the rest of the league, and how the teams have gotten better, as well as the players themselves. Yes, it is 2013, and we have to contend with hulking, heaving, drugged-up baseball-barians; it’s just the nature of the game now. If the Phillies aren’t prepared to contend with artificially enhanced bio-players, who can grow bats out of their shoulders or chew the seams out of the balls, then they might as well forfeit the season right now.
“They’re not gonna fail,” Hamels said of the league’s young, now more experienced players.
It doesn’t take much too assume he’s talking about Bryce Harper; images of that fastball hitting Harper in the spine on that fateful day; of Harper’s subsequent steal of home; of Mike Rizzo jumping on Urban Dictionary to coin the phrase “fake tough” so his kids would finally, finally think he was cool.
And now, Hamels is realizing the gravity of his mistake: That Harper didn’t explode when that ball hit him. That he is a problem that will haunt Hamels for years to come, “not failing” at every turn.
“We just have to fight from the very beginning to the very end,” Hamels concluded; his eyes distant, his thoughts even further. He was up against the wall now, cursed to battle the Harper menace until the day he left the game. He’d made his choice, and he would have to live with it.
As Harper’s shadow descended on him, Hamels wouldn’t go down shrieking like a child and cowering in fear; he would hurl circle change after circle change, hoping that somehow, he’d find the 21-year-old’s weak point and watch him explode into a cloud of dust.