The art of the beanball
May 7, 2012By NewsWorks Tonight Staff
Illustration by Tony Auth
Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels will have some time to think about admitting to wanting to hit Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals with a pitch during Sunday's game.
Major League Baseball has announced that Hamels will be suspended for five games. The suspension began Monday night.
Hamels, who struck the 19-year-old rookie in the back with a 93-mph fastball, told MLB.com he would not file an appeal. Hamels said the way-inside pitch was intentional and meant to convey the message: "Welcome to the big leagues."
Such antics can be found throughout the annals of baseball, along with an unwritten code of conduct for such pitches.
Jason Turbow is author of the book "The Baseball Codes" and blogs about the unwritten rules of baseball at Thebaseballcodes.com. He says the Hamels pitch was textbook.
"Hamels did it just right. You know, anywhere kind of waist or lower, he hit him just above the backside in the small of the back. That was totally fine. Harper knew it was fine. He didn't even blink when he went down to first base," Turbow wrote. "The minute you start coming up around the shoulders or above, you start getting some anger responses, and that's really where you start to see fights as a result of hit-by-pitches."
Turbow says while the pitch was acceptable within the unwritten code, Hamels clearly broke one of the rules by fessing up.