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Mike Rizzo fined for his Cole Hamels tirade

May 8, 2012, 5:25 PM EDT

Nationals Rizzo Baseball

Jim Salisbury of reports that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo has been hit with a fine in an undisclosed amount for his comments about Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels following L’Affaire Old School the other day.

If you don’t recall — and that would be understandable given how little attention we’ve devoted to this since Sunday — the comments included calling Hamels “classless,” “gutless,” “chickens**t” and “fake tough.”

I bet what really brought the fine, however, was the comment about how Hamels “doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”  Which could be construed as a threat. Well, that and the fact that I really don’t think baseball wants its top executives out there talking smack on general principles.

Rizzo has commented on the fine:

 “I think I’ve said probably enough about Cole Hamels. I’m going to stand by my statement and just move on.”

This ends the matter in official channels.  Whether it’s truly over as an on-the-field matter won’t be answered until May 21, when the Nationals come to Philadelphia. Which should be all kinds of fun.

  1. dawglb - May 8, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Rizzo is a GM of a wannabe organization. Everything about the “Nats”, “Natitude”, and whatever their next marketing gimmick is, …is phony.

    • baseballisboring - May 8, 2012 at 5:36 PM

      Well…baseball is a business. They all market themselves, and a few clubs get gimmicky with it. And their wannabe organization is in first place with one of the best pitching staffs in the game, along with the best hitting prospect in baseball…

      • addictedzone - May 8, 2012 at 5:46 PM

        And to finish your thought…the Phillies are in last with a “classless,” “gutless,” “chickens**t” and “fake tough” staff.

      • 18thstreet - May 8, 2012 at 5:48 PM

        And best young pitcher. The Phillies are a dying empire.

    • ThisIsBaseball - May 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      Every great organization was, at one point, a “wannabe.”

    • natstowngreg - May 8, 2012 at 6:13 PM

      In past seasons, one could dismiss the Nats. No more. Mike Rizzo is one reason why you can’t dismiss the Nats anymore.

      That said, I wish he had kept his thoughts to himself.

    • Old Gator - May 8, 2012 at 6:29 PM

      Yep, that wannabe organization that’s in first place, as opposed to, say, that fully realized organization that’s buried in the basement with its nostalgia, its punchless lineup and its horrible horsemeat and Velveeta™ sandwiches.

      Aside from which, “organizations” have a tendency to rise and fall, if not in cycles, than in the natural order of budgetary boom and bust whose downside sets in when you’ve got too many veterans in decline with a higher frequency of injury accompanying age and with years of overburdened contracts to run out. It happens. But I think anyone who’s either anointing the Gnats or counting the Feelies out at this point in the season is being incautious, to say the least.

      • xmatt0926x - May 8, 2012 at 7:03 PM

        Old Gator, stop interrupting things here by looking at this with an open and informed mind!! That won’t help the entertainment value of these comments at all. I prefer “dude, your a phillies fan and you suck!” and “dude, your not a phillies fan so you suck!”.

      • sasquash20 - May 9, 2012 at 4:04 AM

        The Nats have had a good month, the Phillies a bad one. Its early people, let the season play out a little bit. As for dogging the Philly Cheese steak all I can say is your crazy. Now some places make bad Phillies, but as a whole it is a great eat.

      • Old Gator - May 9, 2012 at 7:58 AM

        Phooey. Go tell it to your artery linings and heart valves. Seitan beef substitute and soy cheese for me, doct…er, waiter….

    • drunkenhooliganism - May 8, 2012 at 7:33 PM

      Man, that Michael Rizzo is so phony

    • Jonny 5 - May 8, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      Well Rizzo’s job of picking 1st rounders can be directly related to his team stinking and getting the early picks because of it. Besides the great draft positioning Rizzo has enjoyed, what makes him deserving of any notable recognition?

    • savocabol1 - May 9, 2012 at 8:37 AM

      I’ve said it before and I will say it again. An organization that allows its team to go out in front of thousands of people with their name misspelled is a joke.

      • seeinred87 - May 9, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        Dude, it was 2 players, and they fixed it during the game.

  2. baseballisboring - May 8, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I feel like Rizzo knew very well he was gonna get fined and just didn’t give a shit.

    • Old Gator - May 8, 2012 at 6:30 PM

      I think you’re right. Imagine if he worked for Mark Cuban.

      • chumthumper - May 9, 2012 at 8:09 AM

        Cuban would pay the fine for him.

  3. captainwisdom8888 - May 8, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    I wouldn’t consider any pitcher “real tough” for throwing a 90mph pitch at a batter.

    That aside, I believe this may have sparked a nice rivalry that should continue to heat up in the NL East for years…

    • 18thstreet - May 8, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      A real old-school player would have thrown a hand grenade.

      • addictedzone - May 8, 2012 at 5:58 PM


      • ThisIsBaseball - May 8, 2012 at 6:00 PM


      • Old Gator - May 8, 2012 at 6:22 PM

        A modern now-a-go-go executive would have used a predator drone.

      • Francisco (FC) - May 8, 2012 at 6:48 PM

        Well.. it IS Washington… surely Davey can get Congress to loan him a drone or two..

      • Old Gator - May 8, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        I do seem to recall a billboard from the GSA advertising a loan-a-drone program last time I drove down the Anacostia Freeway, but I probably figured it was just one of the Kardashians in search of a sperm donor.

    • sasquash20 - May 9, 2012 at 4:07 AM

      It is old school to nail a arrogant punk, but you don’t talk about it. Just retarded. Cole is a stud pitcher and I will always love him for the great post season in 08, but dude shut up.

      • larryhockett - May 9, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        Just so you know going forward, it’s not really cool to use the word “retarded” in the pejorative sense.

      • 18thstreet - May 9, 2012 at 6:20 PM

        I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what pejorative means.

  4. ncphilliesguy - May 8, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    The Natinals are a million dollar business (I suspect). Do you really want a guy who spouts off like this to be leader of your business? OK, I am a Phillies fan and I agree that Hamels was wrong to hit Harper. But no matter what Hamels says or does, or how many wins he has, or how much he gets paid, he is still the employee and RAJ is the boss. Rueben may have his blind spots, but at least we have a professional in charge of our club.

    • ThisIsBaseball - May 8, 2012 at 5:48 PM

      Or he’s trying to show his floundering fan-base, that, Yes, we do take baseball serious in DC.

    • stabonerichard - May 8, 2012 at 6:20 PM

      As multi-million dollar businesses, these ML clubs need to protect their assets. When Ubaldo drilled Tulowitzki and now Hamels with Harper, we saw very strong reactions in both instances. Perhaps not the most well thought-out verbiage, but the message sure came across loud & clear.

      Think about how critical Troy Tulowitzki is to the Rockies’ success. And how many millions upon millions of dollars is Bryce Harper likely to generate for the Nats during his tenure? And so when some jackhole pitcher decides to take aim at these guys with 90+ mph fastballs, putting them at very real risk of injury, I completely understand the representatives of these organizations going a little apesh*t. And then when MLB comes along with their slap-on-the-wrist penalty to have a guy wait an extra day for his next start, it’s gotta drive them even more nuts.

      Once someone gets hit in the head, or otherwise significantly injured, from one of these intentional beanballs… *then* MLB will swoop into action. Swift action.

      • chadjones27 - May 8, 2012 at 6:34 PM

        I guess this would have been a different story if Hamels drilled a backup utility guy making league minimum

      • stabonerichard - May 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM

        Um, sure. If Hamels had instead decided to take his Old School act out on Steve Lombardozzi, it would’ve been an equally pathetic move, but obviously not the same story as him going after the guy generating the most buzz in baseball over the past 10 days.

        But while the attention would’ve been much less, I’d like to think MLB would enforce stricter discipline to cut that type of weak crap out of the game. Whether it’s Ubaldo, your boy Cole, or any other pitcher pulling a similarly gutless move.

      • madhatternalice - May 9, 2012 at 11:31 AM


  5. kinggw - May 8, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Money well spent. Im sure Rizzo’s “tirade” garnered the respect of many Nats fans and those within the organization.

    • 18thstreet - May 9, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      I can’t believe he’s getting respect for this. A grown man says, “Chickenshit,” and millions applaud. Apparently, that’s what a real man does.

      Honestly, I think it was a business move, and a good one. But anyone who respects a man like Mike Rizzo simply for running his mouth has never little in common with me.

  6. chew1985 - May 8, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    The only actor here with less class in this psychodrama than Hamels has been Rizzo, so the fine is justified. EVERYBODY should have kept their mouth shut. That’s “Old School,” Mr. Hamels.

    We now have a scenario where Phillies-Nationals games are a mini-war waiting to happen, both on the field and in the stands. This is not what baseball is supposed to be about.

    • sasquash20 - May 9, 2012 at 4:09 AM

      As a phillies fan I love this little mini-war. I just hope my Phils can keep their end of the deal up and start winning again.

  7. thomas2727 - May 8, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    He is going to stand by his statement? Isn’t that like making said statement again? Fine him again I say.

    • ThisIsBaseball - May 8, 2012 at 6:11 PM

      Ah, yes. The thought police. Let’s fine home a second time because he hasn’t changed his mind.

      • jimeejohnson - May 8, 2012 at 8:44 PM

        The only thing worse is the grammar police.

      • ThisIsBaseball - May 8, 2012 at 10:22 PM

        Grammar and I have never been friends. In fact, we’re mortal enemies.

  8. caps247 - May 8, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    The new Bruce Boudreau or John Tototella of Baseball. I like it. Shows that he’s not afraid to put his true opinions out there (minus the fact that a $10-20,000 fine to him is like a $20-30 fine for us.)

  9. djm426 - May 8, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    I’m sure the hundreds of Nats fans enjoy this,but until u r a relevant team it doesn’t really matter, phillies are out of your league

    • chadjones27 - May 8, 2012 at 6:21 PM

      Phillies are out of their league? Have you seen the standings? Not to mention the Nats won 2 of 3.

      • Francisco (FC) - May 8, 2012 at 7:00 PM

        That Nats could well be the real deal this season, I will wait till the All-Star Break to make pronouncements. After all the Pirates were in 1st Place in July last year. And in ’10 the Phillies were 45-43 around mid season and then went on a tear. In the same Year San Diego blew a 10 game lead after August.

        I guess the point is: There’s plenty of baseball to be played! Looking forward to the September races.

      • chadjones27 - May 8, 2012 at 7:49 PM

        True, I suppose it’s anyone’s division at this point.

      • sasquash20 - May 9, 2012 at 4:14 AM

        Its a long season and the standings after a little over a month mean nothing. The Phillies hang around 500 until Utley and Howard(assuming they will be close to 100 percent) come back then they will be coming for you. The Nats are a young team loaded with talent but they have not won anything yet. The Phillies may be on their last leg, but they are reigning 5 time division champs. Until you win the division or knock them out of the playoffs you can’t really brag. Good 5 weeks Nats, keep it for a while then brag.

  10. chadjones27 - May 8, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Didn’t Mike Rizzo say, last year, that he f-ing hates the Phillies on camera with Jayson Werth? That guy just does not like Philly does he?

    • dennisund - May 9, 2012 at 10:39 AM

      Yep, and Jayson Werth been the Phillies’ psychotic ex-girlfriend since he felt slighted by a 4 year, 60 something million offer when the Nationals were willing to overpay him. Nobody blames him for taking the money, that was his choice. Phillies fans are forever grateful for his role in the latest championship. I just think this imbalance he has displayed since is part of the reason the Phils weren’t willing to pay him money that only one team was willing to give, and that one team probably regrets it. The Phils gave him a chance when the Dodgers gave up on him for being injury-prone. Get over it, Jayson.

  11. phillyphreak - May 8, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    It’s cool. I’m sure he, on principle, wouldn’t offer Hamels a deal this offseaon. Regardless, I understand why he was so mad about it. Though, being in baseball for that long you would think he would have seen something like that before.

  12. Charles Gates - May 8, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    We’ll see how much this matters when Cole The Tank Hamels hits free agency this off season and Mike Rizzo finalizes his acquisition budget.

  13. sumerduckman - May 8, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    Rizzo can afford the fine. In fact, he might get a raise for all the extra butts in the seats the next time the Fillies come to town.

  14. creek0512 - May 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    A few division titles and suddenly they forget how they were the basement dwellers of the NL for a century and are the least successful original NL team.

  15. bigleagues - May 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Rizzo is a good GM, but his comments were inane given his position and profile.

    Here is what I attempted to post yesterday under Craig’s initial Rizzo post (HBT swears these comments were submitted, but never appeared – not that it really matters, but I do feel I was on the mark):

    I guess Rizzo is displaying ‘Natitude’ here and I’m disappointed because he’s coming off as somewhat of a clown.

    But I have to thank Rizzo because my earlier observation has been realized . . . would Rizzo or anyone else have had this sort of reaction if it was, say, Michael Morse who got plunked?

    I’m not saying that Hamels isn’t “fake tough” or that he is “old school” for having plunked Harper, however I do believe the reaction is now officially over-the-top and out of proportion.

    Throwing in-tight and belt-high is not tantamount to head-hunting. If the pitch was in as tight as it was and closer to letter high, then my opinion would be a bit different. But I don’t have nearly as much a problem with this as some people apparently do.

    Hamels is not a wild pitcher. He was in control of his craft last night and he attempted to send a message to a young phenom who doesn’t appear to be easily intimidated by anyone or anything in the game.

    As his career progresses if Harper stays out over the plate as he was last night, Hamels will hardly be the last pitcher to throw in and tight . . . and hit Harper.

    Bottom line, the anti-Hamels take on this incident is driven by some misplaced Fatherly-need to protect and/or defend a stud world class athlete from the big bad ace pitchers in the world.

    Sorry, not buying it.

    At roughly belt high, the pitch that hit Harper was nearly as dangerous as it has been portrayed – if it was dangerous at all.

    If Hamels had plunked virtually anyone else on the Nationals roster – whether admitted intentional or not – the hysteria over the incident would be a fraction of what it has been to this point.

    • madhatternalice - May 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      I love the multitude of “if Hamels had hit anyone else” comments that have appeared over the last few days. It’s such a fun argument to use when one is clearly in the wrong.

      Here…let me try!

      “You know, no one would be talking about Sandusky if the kids were all over 18!”

      Say….that DOES work! And it deflects attention from the real point! Good job!

      • bigleagues - May 9, 2012 at 8:57 PM

        What’s the real point madhatternalice?

        Because I think I adequately addressed that as well. There is a whole lot of fake outrage with regard to Hamels pitching in and tight at belt level.

        Show me a player who lost his career after being drilled in the middle of his body and I’ll show you a soft player who had a lot of other problems before that.

        What Hamels did does not equal head hunting . . . but that’s what Craig and others who have falsely expressed rage at the 19-year-old kid being hit by an adult pitcher.

        BTW . . . where’s the similar outrage to baserunner/Catcher collisions at Home?


      • madhatternalice - May 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        “What’s the real point?” I love that :)

        The “real point,” as your snark implies, is not “fake outrage” over an “inside pitch.” That’s simply Phillies justification. Hamels MEANT to hit him, Hamels ADMITS he meant to hit him, and Hamels admitted to doing so for reasons he described as “Old School.”

        So, the “real point,” as you allude to, is the fact the idea that Harper did nothing within the game to merit being thrown at. The “real point” is that Hamels (apparently) didn’t like how a player was playing the game, and decided to risk that player’s career to make some Grumpy Old Man “get off of my lawn!” statement. The “real point” is that professional ballplayers shouldn’t have to stoop to this level. Play the game, then leave. But Hamels has appointed himself the guardian and gatekeeper of the “Gosh darn it, the way baseball SHOULD be played” committee.

        You mention “fake outrage.” Rest assured, here in DC, there is no fake outrage. Only outrage over a pitcher deciding to play god. Pitching inside is one thing. Pitching to hit is no different than the bounties the NFL is currently assessing. You probably approve of those, too.

        But here’s my favorite “real point.”

        “Show me a player who lost his career after being drilled in the middle of his body and I’ll show you a soft player who had a lot of other problems before that.”

        Sorry, but civil discourse is about to escape me. You have got to be the most asinine a$$hole on the planet if you think it’s OK to hit somebody for any reason at all. Either you play sports for the love of the game, or because you want to hurt someone. Hamels showed that he’s nothing but a cheap punk, using the mound as a bully pulpit.

        And I’d say the same thing about any intentional HPB, including Zimmermann’s.

        Finally, there’s no outrage over baserunner/catcher collisions at home because it’s not at all an equitable comparison. The catcher’s job is to get the runner out before he touches home plate. The runner’s job is to touch homeplate before he/it is tagged out. Sometimes it ends in an extremely unfortunate way (see Posey, Buster). The difference, “bigleagues,” is that it’s not a pitcher’s job to teach a lesson to the other team. It’s his job to get outs. Honestly, have you ever watched a baseball game?

  16. eagles512 - May 8, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Should be a huge fine. Only an idiot would go nuts over something that happens hundreds of times per year. And because Hamels didn’t lie that it got away from him. Rizzo looks the worst in this situation. And I gained respect for Harper.

  17. kevinleaptrot - May 8, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    This will only turn into a rivalry if the Phils can start winning a series here and there from the Nats, just like it wasn’t a rivalry when the Phils were constantly beating the Nats. They just came in to “Citizens Bank Park South” or whatever the hell they call it and lost two of three. I doubt that the Phillies will do any better when the series returns to Philadelphia. They’re on their way back to last place, which should be very familiar to them. It’s the National’s division now.

    • dennisund - May 9, 2012 at 7:13 PM

      Hahahahaha, yeah. The only way this becomes a rivalry is if the Nationals start caring more. Wow. ‘It’s the Nationals division now’*

      *as of 5/9 7:10 PM EST, subject to change daily

  18. chasemutley - May 8, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    I’d prefer my trash talking coming from the leaders inside of the club house, not in the executive suite.

  19. philly4lyfe - May 8, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Way to go Natinals!

  20. tompell17 - May 8, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Want to hear a conspiracy theory? All through the offseason the Nationals GM Mike Rizzo started this plan to prevent Phillies’ fans from overtaking their ballpark by not letting anyone from PA buy any tickets. Seems like somebody was trying to spark a little rivalry. So last night Cole Hamels beans Bryce Harper and after the game brags about it. Has anyone ever seen that happen ever? No one ever admits to purposely hitting another player.
    So here is the conspiracy theory. The Nationals have no real rival within their own division. Phillies’ fans have flocked to Washington since they opened their new stadium so who better to start the rivalry with? The Nationals have had poor attendance since opening their new stadium and haven’t really made strides in their new market. So what’s good for business? Having Nat’s GM Rizzo, the MLB, and Hamels conspire to peg Harper and then brag about it fueling the media and gaining national attention to create a bitter rivalry that didn’t really exist. Having Jayson Werth break his wrist was bonus. It gave the Nats the opportunity to call out the Phillies who were supposedly yelling stuff at him all game. By telling the media that he is going to see to it that we, Philly fans, never see another parade down Broad Street. This theory probably isn’t true, but the whole thing seemed fishy to me.

  21. amehta256 - May 8, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    The Nats have no business being in MLB, bring back the Expos!

  22. jonirocit - May 8, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Props to rizzo . Sabean said the same things just not as harsh but I love it . The gm standing up for his players is awesome . The bean ball is part of the game but the whole code is ridiculous. If some one does shit you don’t like just do like they do anyway and clear benches hold each other back and talk shit . No need for throwing at each other. Except for tony plush everyone should throw at his head .

  23. eaglebobby - May 9, 2012 at 1:01 AM

    I think Mike Rizzo’s a clown who’s in charge of a team that hasn’t been relevant since they moved south. Yes, they have some good young talent–but constantly finishing with the worst record in baseball will get you that. Werth was the only big fish they pulled in via FA and that’s because he was upset the Phils “only” offered him a 4 year 64M deal last year and preferred to sign Cliff Lee when Werth turned them down–and Lee made Werth look even worse when he said, “What can you do with $30M that you can’t do with $20M?”. That made Werth seem like a greedy mercenary who would prefer the big bucks of a constant cellar dwellar to a consistent winning atmosphere. How many big fish have turned them down? Texiera, Fielder, Oswald, Lee, Pujols, etc. They only finished with the record they did last year because either teams were too disinterested–Phils, Marlins–or were bad–Mets. It’s only May, and the page hasn’t turned to June yet, and everyone is looking at them as NL East winners already. We’ll see when the dog days of August get here. Meanwhile, Rizzo would do well to shut his yap and hope that key injuries don;t derail them.

  24. delawarephilliesfan - May 9, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    Okay, this will get a tirade of “Harper stole Home”, etc. thrown at me, but none the less…..

    Mike Rizzo is the GM of a team that has not had a winning record since 1996. Seeing as ALL General Managers are hired to be fired, it is safe to say his career in DC may only last a few more years. Has it not dawned on him he may at some point be GM or in the front office of a team trying to aquire Cole Hamels? Get a grip, dude!

  25. bpearse230 - May 9, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Anyone else find it a little funny that a pitch that hit a hot shot rookie in the BACK has now resulted in a 5 game suspension, a GM getting fined, and a ridiculous amount of press? 12 years ago a roided up Yankee pitcher intentionally threw a 95 MPH fastball at the head of a future hall of fame catcher and received no punishment, and then 6 months later threw a broken bat at him during the World Series, and again recieved no punishment. There must have been a different commissioner in office or something? Oh wait…..

    • delawarephilliesfan - May 9, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      The difference is Clemens denied it. Ask Jim Leyland – if you deny, then all is okay.

      • bpearse230 - May 10, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        Yeah I believe Clemen’s excuse for throwing the bat at Piazza was that he thought it was the ball. Oh… ok.. so you meant to fling the ball at him as he ran up the baseline instead of the sawed off bat….oh well then, that’s fine… Bud’s a puppet.

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