Men are simple. Sports are complicated.
Here's your cheat sheet.
I don’t want to burn you ladies out on baseball — it is, generally speaking, a long season that often feels like a wasteland, and there are so many teams and games going on simultaneously, that I could pretty much fill your head with a lot of crap about Designated Hitters*, and trades and rookies and injuries and whatnot. But, in the interest of keeping you current enough to crack wise on the day’s major stories, I present to you another baseball-related installment of This Guy.
This guy is Josh Hamilton. And, like his arm says, he has priorities. He got these priorities after running face-first into drug and alcohol addiction. He got sober in 2005, prior to making it to the big leagues, but slipped up in 2009 and again in the 2011-2012 off-season. It’s the kind of thing where a handsome, extremely talented and seemingly nice guy makes these kinds of errors in judgment and the sports media kind of holds its breath hoping he won’t go the way of an athletic Lindsay Lohan.
Anyway, he apologized to his fans, his wife and his current team, the Texas Rangers (who play in Arlington, a suburb of Dallas) and went on to begin this season in a pretty awesome manner.
Tonight, he hit FOUR HOME RUNS. FOUR TWO-RUN HOME RUNS. Some math:
4 home runs x (1 man on base + Hamilton at plate=2 runs per home run) = 8 runs batted in (RBIs, sometimes called “ribbies”)
To give you some perspective on what an accomplishment like this means:
My cynical husband seems to think, as he sits here next to me critiquing my every written word, that Hamilton is going to have a great year, because his contract is up at the end of the 2012 season. (That’s a thing dudes seem to care about. We’ll touch back on that subject later.) Some simple math reveals that, if he were to play all 162 games that the Rangers will play this season, he’d hit 84 home runs. Since that is 11 more than has EVER been hit in a season, this is unlikely, but a good talking point if you feel like impressing some dudes who are boxing you out of their baseball conversation.
The dude-dominated sports blogs and ESPN are going nuts for this story, so expect to see it absolutely everywhere tomorrow.
*Designated Hitters are guys who don’t play a position on the field, they just come up to bat — the American League has them, the National League does not. The National League has their pitchers come up to hit instead.
This guy is Cole Hamels. Before you get distracted by his perfect eyebrows, let me tell you why he’s all over the sporting news today. He’s a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies (Which is, what, shorthand for Philadelphians? Maybe? The Philadelphia Philadelphians? That aside…)
Last night, the Phillies were playing the Washington Nationals at their stadium, in Washington D.C. Hamels was pitching to Bryce Harper, the Nationals’ 19-year-old much-hyped-possible-future-superstar, in the first inning of the game, when he hit Harper on the butt with a pitch.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Pitchers plunk batters on occasion, it hurts although usually not enough to injure the batter, and the batter gets to advance to first base. But Hamels is about to start serving a five-game suspension and is subject to a fine for beaning Harper Sunday night. Why? Because when the media came around to Hamels’ locker after the game, he said this boneheaded thing:
“I was trying to hit him,” the two-time All-Star lefty said Sunday night. “I’m not going to deny it. I’m not trying to injure the guy. They’re probably not going to like me for it, but I’m not going to say I wasn’t trying to do it. I think they understood the message, and they threw it right back. That’s the way, and I respect it.”
Editorially speaking, I’d have to say Hamels’ follow-up statement is what got him in trouble.
“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,” Hamels said. “I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything because that’s the way baseball is.
Baseball is ruled by a long-time sourpuss named Bud Selig, who doesn’t like players criticizing the league, its talented young prospects, or his ridiculous old man haircut.
Among my male friends, Harper is generally a noted asshat, despite having only played eight games. One buddy loathes the way he seems to pitch off his hat while running, intentionally dramatizing his way around the bases. And then there was his GQ interview, where the pottymouth was practically placed in Cooperstown for his bombastic personality by Will Leitch. I mean, Leitch called him the “Mozart child prodigy of the great game.” FOR REAL?
But, anyway, the five-game suspension is not as bad as it sounds. Major league starting pitchers (often called “starters” meaning they are the pitchers that start the game — when they get tired, or throw the amount of pitches the coaches think should be their limit, the “relief pitchers” come in, so named because they relieve the starting pitchers of having to pitch) are generally on a staff of four or five men, which means they pitch every fourth or fifth game. Given travel days and days off, and because Hamels pitched last night, he will most likely not miss his next “start.”
But it makes for a good story — and you can tell it’s a good story because UGH WAS IT EVERYWHERE TODAY! And maybe, it should be noted, the Phillies beat the Nationals 9-3.