Friday, October 30, 2009

Another reason to root against Cole Hamels

Poor Cole Hamels. Winning the World Series in 2008 and being named MVP was not special enough for him, because he had to pitch in Tampa Bay. Finally, he gets to be in a real Fall Classic:
"It actually feels like a World Series... Tampa Bay had tremendously talented players, but it's not the World Series-type city and flair that you expect in a World Series. I grew up in Atlanta. They were always on TV. That's what you were accustomed to, that's what you thought of when you thought of a World Series.

Unfortunately, Tampa Bay doesn't have that type of attention. They're gonna put up some tremendous statistics and do well. But the attention you get in New York makes it feel like a World Series."

The Phillies are defending World Champions. They have been in the World Series five times in the last 30 years. That's as many as the Braves. In fact, that's as many as any other team besides the Yankees. (The Cardinals also have five World Series appearances.) As much as I hate to say it, Philly players and fans have a right to say, when you think of the World Series, think of us.

Instead, Hamels ends up devaluing his own World Series MVP performance in 2008. After all, Hamels' only win in the series came in Tampa Bay, and we know that those games don't feel like World Series games.

And now that Hamels' road World Series games are finally on a stage big enough for his liking, Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel apparently feels like that stage is too much for Hamels, skipping over last year's MVP for 38-year-old Pedro Martinez, who was viewed as more likely to do well in Yankee Stadium.

Hamels pitched at the new Yankee Stadium in May and did pretty well. In six innings, he allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out five and got a no-decision. Except for the strikeouts, those numbers are better than the ones Pedro put up Thursday night in Game 2. But when it "felt" like a World Series game," Hamels got passed over.

Hamels has said things that devalue his own accomplishments in the past. Squawker Lisa and other Yankee fans expect me to hate Hamels because he called the Mets "choke artists" last year. But Hamels' statement hurts himself more than Met fans. It only validates our view that the Phillies did not win the division in 2007 and 2008 so much as the Mets lost it.

I don't recall anyone associated with the Mets calling the Red Sox choke artists for letting the 1986 World Series slip away. That would only diminish the never-say-die spirit of the 1986 Mets.

Besides, Hamels is right - the 2007-8 Mets were choke artists. And the only way for the Mets to shed that label will be on the field.

I look forward to seeing the Mets back in the World Series one day, and wherever it is played, I am sure it will feel like a World Series.


Rob A from BBD said...

Overreacting much? He just meant that compared to NY Tampa is not much of a city. He's right, and it was probably meant as a praise of New York instead of a putdown to Tampa.

Uncle Mike said...

Rob's right. All season long in 2008, I said that the Rays were a fraud. Eventually, I had to admit that they were not. But this season proved that they were a fluke.

Face it, sports-wise, Tampa Bay has been a joke. The Buccaneers were the most ridiculous franchise in the NFL, from their "creamsicle" jerseys to the "Bucco Bruce" logo on their helmets to their funny-shaped Tampa Stadium (they called it the "Big Sombrero") to their inability to sign Bo Jackson to the failure of most of the other high draft picks. Until Malcolm Glazer bought the Bucs from the Culverhouses, and he changed their uniforms and moved them into a modern stadium, they couldn't do squat.

The Devil Rays were hopeless for their first 10 years. I called them the Deviled Eggs. Even the NHL's lightning had some dreadful seasons. That the Bucs have now won a Super Bowl, the Lightning a Stanley Cup and the Rays an American League Pennant is testament not so much to new management as to finally running out of bad luck.

But if Cole Hamels says that Atlanta is a real baseball city, and his comments about last year's Series implies that Philly is not, then he doesn't know what the hell a real baseball city is. Remember how the Braves couldn't sell out a lot of their Playoff games? How their biggest crowds always seemed to be against the Mets, the result of New Yorkers flying down from the City, or ex-New Yorkers driving up from Florida, and outcheering the home fans? How even the '99 NLCS seemed to be half-and-half? And, of course, the Braves should have won a lot more than one World Series in 44 years down there, the Falcons have been to one Super Bowl in that same time, the Hawks have never even reached the NBA East Finals in almost that long. By comparison, the Thrashers are the least disappointing because they've given the least chance to disappoint.

Cole needs to wake up and smell the coffee down at his local Wawa. (Philly's answer to 7-Eleven, only better. There's 2 near me and they make really good sandwiches.) Or maybe he needs to spend less time making commercials for Comcast and more time learning to control his curveball.

Anonymous said...

That's what Cole Hamels said? I find that odd because he was born in and grew up in San Diego.

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