Well, how’s this going to go over? Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
While writing a cover story about the Heidi Hamels-led charity, the Hamels Foundation, writer Richard Rys got in a couple baseball questions with the man himself.
His answers? Surprisingly frank, honest, and largely parroting the thoughts of the fan base at large.
I don’t know the context of the question, so the level Hamels volunteered these thoughts is unclear. Regardless, he had some choice words for the half of the game of which he isn’t an active participant:
"Our hitting sucked."
Blunt, honest, and correct. It’s just surprising to hear it come from within the team, especially a pitcher. He went on to describe the clubhouse atmosphere, and the turmoil within during 2013:
"The energy in the clubhouse changed. It used to be all high fives. This season, there weren’t as many high fives. There was a lot of bitterness, pointing fingers — ‘You haven’t played well in a week, why weren’t you in here early?’"
This same sentiment was expressed to a much less effective extent by closer Jonathan Papelbon (fans weren’t exactly responsive to HIM saying it, and the way he said it – although no one doubted it).
Finally, and possibly most surprising of all, was his near endorsement of a rebuild of the team, counter to management’s apparent “win-now” mindset.
"You have to know when to start over. Will our fans be happy with that? Probably not. We won’t win 100 games next season. But with another wild card, we can definitely get into the playoffs."
With each additional quote, I’m standing up, cheering “YES!” and pumping my first to continually greater, more exaggerated effect.
“Hollywood” Cole is saying everything fans have been saying for the past year and a half – however it seems to be points only parroted within the pitching staff.
It would be nice to see an everyday player in the clubhouse take a stand and be a leader like this, and obviously we would like to see management act in the way that he describes.
I’m also aware he probably was speaking off the cuff, but regardless it is significant that he would challenge his team in this way.
The only warning to him is that he better not have another slow start to the season in 2014 – people will start giving him crap about this quickly, if he does.