PITTSBURGH — According to a source, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for his comments about Cole Hamels, following Hamels’ intentionally throwing at Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper on Sunday night.
Hamels admitted after the game that he threw at Harper on purpose in the 19-year-old’s first at-bat, wanting to send a “Welcome to the big leagues” message to Harper and calling it “old school.”
Rizzo ripped Hamels’ actions and comments to The Washington Post on Monday.
“I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless, chicken (expletive) act in my 30 years in baseball,” Rizzo said. “Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.
“He thinks he’s sending a message to us of being a tough guy. He’s sending the polar opposite message. He says he’s being honest. Well, I’m being honest. It was a gutless, chicken (expletive) act. That was a fake tough act. No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school.”
Hamels was suspended five games and was also fined as Rizzo was fined for the second straight year. Rizzo was fined and suspended one game in 2011 after an altercation with umpires following a game at Citi Field in New York.
On Tuesday, Rizzo declined to address whether he felt Hamels’ punishment was enough and didn’t want to add anything to his comments from Monday.
“I think I’ve said probably enough about Cole Hamels,” Rizzo said. “I’m going to stand by my statement and just move from there.”
Harper also declined to address the situation again after laughing it off on Sunday night, admitting he had “no clue” why Hamels would have targeted him. He did appreciate the support of his general manager, though.
“Rizzo’s always going to have every single guy on this team’s back,” Harper said. “Rizzo’s a great guy, great GM and he does a lot of things for this organization. It’s just really impressive that he’s that kind of guy toward every single guy on our club and he’s got our back on everything that happens. It’s great to have.”
Nationals manager Davey Johnson, someone who played baseball when it was “old school,” just smiled when asked about Hamels’ comments and what had transpired since the Nationals had last been on the field.
“From some things that happened in the past, I don’t make a lot of comments on other people’s comments,” Johnson said. “Hamels making those comments, that’s kind of a rare thing to ever happen. That was the most surprising thing.
“But there have been a lot of things that have changed over the years. That part of the game has changed considerably. I think it’s all about prevention of injuries and whatever. And the game used to be policed more in-house. Now we have rules and umpires are trying to control the game more than the players. We used to handle it in-house.”
Johnson also added that Hamels’ calling his actions “old school,” was a little ironic.
“Old school, there was never any comment.”