Cole Hamels has been deemed worthy of opening day starter duties.
Whether it was his status as a dominant ace, a contract solidifying his future as a Phillies lifer, or questions about the cohesion of Roy Halladay’s innards, Cole Hamels will be taking the mound for game #1 this season. It will be his first opening day start ever, and Roy Halladay’s first opening day benching in a decade.
Hamels, coming off a splendid spring (barring one unfortunate run-in with the Dominican Republic) and being named #1 on the infamous “Top 6 Fantasy Baseball Team Names Inspired by ‘Game of Thrones‘” list, was not surprised by the announcement, which was announced only to him, and via text message. Neither was anyone else.
Doc himself was pleased to advocate for the lefty’s number one-manship, and does not seem at all perturbed that the Phillies’ claims of how “wonderful” and “fabulous” his recovery is going do not make them anymore confident he could make a start in two weeks.
Nonetheless! This is an honor for Cole, one he deserves, no matter how little it really matters in the long run. Last year, Roy Halladay won a 1-0 opening day contest in Pittsburgh, in which Hunter Pence and Ty Wigginton and all your favorite Phillies somehow kept the Pirates at bay by failing just a tad less than them. It was quite a pitching clinic, giving Cole a high bar of standards.
Of course, given the vibes moving into this season, leaving Turner Field with a win on day one would be just peachy, and not just because that’s the only adjective you’re permitted to use in Georgia.
So, the traditional opening day starter ceremony was presumably completed at sundown yesterday, with Rich Dubee reciting a cryptic “prayer to the southpaw” scrawled on the back of a napkin and then punching him in the stomach.