One game does not a season make, but who can resist drawing a few conclusions anyway?
Cole Hamels is a premier pitcher and the ace of the Phillies' staff. Of course, the cynic would argue the latter title is equivalent to being named an admiral in the Swiss Navy, but let's leave that question for another time.
What I have argued in the past is that Hamels, excellent as he is, does not have the fear co-efficient associated with his name. When opposing teams see him on the schedule they don't start having nightmares about his high inside hard one like they used to do with, say, Randy Johnson. Heck, they don't even fear Hamels' out pitch, his change, like they did Johnson's sweeping breaking stuff that moved AWAY from the batter. (Of course it moved away after sweeping across his body and appearing to aim right for the batter's knees.)
Cole just doesn't strike fear.
He also perennially gets off to a slow start.
Yesterday he had nothing against the Red Sox, reportedly one of his suitors in the off-season. If yesterday's game is any indicator, and it is early, the Red Sox are probably just as glad they didn't bite.
Someone will, however, because Cole is going to get vocal about the lack of support he receives this season. Yesterday the Phils managed three hits altogether, a harbinger of things to come. Cole will be grow increasingly unhappy after losing a lot of 3-0 and 2-1 games and the Phils will have to move him just to keep the peace. Who knows? If the Sox are in the thick of a tight race they may still covet him, especially since they also know it's early.
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Speaking of the Red Sox, did I mention I detest interleague play!? Did I also mention that as much as I hate interleague play I especially loathe seeing National League teams open their season against American League clubs!?
Here comes the curmudgeon paragraph.
Baseball loves to remind fans how tradition-bound in the best sense the game is. When it suits them.
In my youth the leagues never met except during the All Star game and World Series. Televised games were also few and far between so one rarely saw players from the other league except during the aforementioned special occasions.
Some time in the sixties or seventies (I am too lazy to look it up, another by-product of being a curmudgeon) the alleged brain trust running MLB even tried holding two All Star games one or two seasons. Talk about greed and stupidity! Even THEY realized how stupid a move that was.
The point I am slowly making here is that the separation of the leagues was near absolute so when they did come together arguments over which was the better league were hot and furious and fun.
Then came the DH in the AL. Then came Saturday games of the week. Then came ESPN. They came Saturday and Thursday games of the week. Then came Sunday night baseball. Then came interleague play. (We might as well throw in free agency, which meant more movement of players between the leagues.)
Now, who cares? The Leagues are fungible save the DH difference. The All Star game is a television special like the ones Dean Martin might have hosted. All fluff and partying.
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J-Roll sure knows when that red light is on and what better place to prove it than Hollywood? Jimmy hit a three-run homer in his Dodger debut to lead his team to victory. I'll bet he was having such a good time he forgot to look at the box score of his former mates.
I'll bet they looked at his, though.