Monday, May 7, 2012
The five least old-school players in baseball
By David Schoenfield
"I was trying to hit him. I'm not going to deny it. That's something I grew up watching, that's kind of what happened. So I'm just trying to continue the old baseball because I think some people are kind of getting away from it." -- Phillies starter Cole Hamels, after plunking Bryce Harper in the back on Sunday night.
"I've never seen a more classless, gutless chicken (bleep) act in my 30 years in baseball." -- Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
I believe we officially have a new rivalry. Mark your calendars: May 21, Nationals at Phillies; or better yet, May 22, Nationals at Phillies, with Hamels likely to start for Philadelphia, unless he draws a suspension for admitting he threw at Harper.
Why the resentment, Cole? All Harper has done since getting called up his bust his hump on every play, display amazing gifts, say all the right things and basically excite the baseball world with his energy and potential. What, are you suggesting that not hustling is old school? (Actually, there is some truth to that; Pete Rose was allegedly given his Charlie Hustle nickname by Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, derisively mocking Rose for running out every groundball and walk.)
The funniest part about Hamels' "old baseball" approach? He's 28 years old! What old-school baseball is he referring to? 1998? 1996? Hamels has to be the youngest player ever to invoke old-school quoting privileges.
Plus ... wouldn't Hamels have to be one of the least old-school players in the game? When your nickname is Hollywood Hamels, you can't be old school. When your wife is a reality TV contestant who posed in Playboy, you can't be old school. Old-school players marry the first Baseball Annie they meet in the minors. And they certainly don't spend as much time on their hair as Hamels does.
But Hamels is hardly alone. Here are five other least old-school players in the game.
5. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees. This is not old school. This is also not old school. And this is definitely not.
4. Any starting pitcher other than Justin Verlander. Please, old-school pitchers don't come out after a mere 100 pitches. They throw at least 120 every start and if the manager needs them to throw nine innings and 140 pitches, no problem. Just take two Advil after the game and stop complaining that your arm was tired or that your elbow has swelled to the size of a cantaloupe.
3. Chris Davis, Orioles. Come on, old-school guys wouldn't accept striking out five times in a game. That would be an insult to their manhood. They would choke up on the bat if they had to or just swing at the first pitch and hit a weak grounder to shortstop. Anything to avoid striking out.
2. Curtis Granderson, Yankees. Believe me, Granderson would offend old-school guys. He's a nice guy, he plays hard, he says all the right things. Crazy stuff. Old-school guys should be spitting chew on the shoes of the catcher as they dig in at the plate and pepper their language with four-letter words and then down five beers in the clubhouse as you sit naked talking about how that horsebleep umpire screwed you on that 2-2 slider.
1. Jered Weaver, Angels. Did you see him after his no-hitter last week? He had tears in his eyes, for crying out loud. Then there's the long hair. What's wrong with a crew cut? And did you know in 2010 he went an entire season without hitting a single batter? Don Drysdale would plunk guys in the on-deck circle just to make sure they didn't get too comfortable at the plate.