Philly's LoveHate Relationship with Cole Hamels Came Full Circle Sunday Night

Philly's LoveHate Relationship with Cole Hamels Came Full Circle Sunday Night

I remember buying a Cole Hamels shirsey in pretty short order once the team started marketing his name and likeness circa 2006/2007. The purchase was made as a result of this near-indisputable argument: "He's young. Left-handed. And throws punches with his pitching hand. This is the guy."
Of course, as time went on, Cole seemed less and less like a bar brawler. We made fun of his voice and none of his personality traits were really an issue because the guy won the World Series MVP in just his third season and broke our city's 25-year championship drought. At that point, all we had on him, other than the voice impersonations (this being my personal favorite), was the idea that he was just "a little too California for this town" (It should be noted, of course, that Chase Utley is also from California and he's been pegged as the prototypical Philadelphia athlete, so none of these stereotypes really mean anything).
ANYWAY, fast-forward one year and October 2009 nearly ruined everything. Just twelve months after Cole was one of the select group who wore all-black in the parade, his public reputation with Phils fans hit its low point. He showed up his teammates after a botched play in the field, appeared sullen and defeated in a postgame press conference and just wished for the season to be over.
Cole Hamels doesn't have what it takes to play in this town. He doesn't know what being a Philadelphia athlete is all about. He doesn't get that you don't show up the best defensive shortstop in the game on the biggest stage in baseball. He wants it to be over? Well so do we. See you later, Hollywood.
Remember that talk? Or this talk?
Every year since, Cole Hamels has become a better pitcher. And for a guy who appeared to lack a certain mental toughness -- or any kind of toughness really, you know, with the voice and all -- he grew as a starter and a leader in spite of losing his position as the club's ace to not one, not two, but (arguably) three guys.
He didn't pout, sob, demand a trade or publicly complain that he has lost his spot after winning the World Series MVP just two years prior. Instead, he learned from Cliff and Doc and Roy, and now, in 2012, he's the best pitcher on the staff. Granted, it's been a small sample size, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would label Cole's early season performance an aberration.
This all leads us to Sunday night, when he intentionally threw at Nationals rookie Bryce Harper. His logic

“It’s just, ‘Welcome to the big leagues,’” Hamels said in the clubhouse after eight dominating innings. “I was trying to hit him. I mean, I’m not going to deny it.”

“I think they understood the messages, and they threw it right back, and I think that’s the way it [should be done], and I respect it.”

“Oh yeah, that’s baseball. I’m kind of happy that’s the way it works, because that’s the way it should."

"I grew up playing the game hard and watching it, and that’s the way it was, and I’d hate for them to change it, which has kind of happened in recent years."

Hamels' actions and comments are now being almost unanimously celebrated in Philadelphia (if not in Washington or the national media). Really, check the comment threads on this or any other local site.
Awesome. Epic. Bad ass. Good on ya, Cole. I didn't know Hollywood had it in him. This guy gets it.
And there you have it. We've come 360 degrees on Cole Hamels. First, he was a bar-brawling, changeup-throwing menace. Then, he was a pretty boy wuss who had no business putting on a Phillies uniform. And now, he's so valued we're desperately worried about whether we have the money to keep him in case another team (from "Hollywood," go figure) wants to steal him with the aid off an obscene pile of cash, because not only is he one of the best pitchers in the game, but he's also an old-school baseball vet who knows that you throw at the loudmouthed rookie when he's getting a little big for his britches.
Cole Hamels: So Philly.

Buccaneers promote former Eagles WR Josh Huff to active roster

Buccaneers promote former Eagles WR Josh Huff to active roster

Josh Huff is back on an NFL active roster.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are calling the wide receiver up from their practice squad to their 53-man roster. The Eagles released Huff just over a month ago following his arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm. 

The 25-year-old Huff was originally a third round pick by the Eagles in 2014. He made 48 receptions for 482 yards and four touchdowns over three seasons. He excelled on special teams, returning two kicks for touchdowns. One of those kick returns came in his penultimate game with the Eagles, a 21-10 win over the Vikings on Oct. 23. 

Huff replaces Cecil Shorts III for the Buccaneers after Shorts suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sunday in San Diego.

Meanwhile, the Eagles have filled Huff's role in the offense with rookie receivers Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner. 

MLB Notes: Red Sox acquire ace LHP Chris Sale from White Sox

MLB Notes: Red Sox acquire ace LHP Chris Sale from White Sox

OXON HILL, Md. -- All-Star ace Chris Sale is joining the reloading Boston Red Sox, leaving behind his shredded reputation with the Chicago White Sox.

Boston acquired Sale on Tuesday for a package of four prospects, including high-priced Yoan Moncada.

Sale was a top trade target at the winter meetings and the AL East champion Red Sox were getting him instead of Washington, which also pursued.

A few hours earlier, Boston got prime setup man Tyler Thornburg from Milwaukee. After that deal was announced, without tipping his hand, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said: "We're trying to win now, as you can see."

Boston acquired Sale for minor league pitchers Michael Kopech and Victor Diaz, outfielder Luis Basabe and Moncada, a third baseman (see full story).

Red Sox get setup man Thornburg from Brewers for INF Shaw
OXON HILL, Md. -- The Boston Red Sox have gotten the setup man they wanted, acquiring right-hander Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers in a package that included infielder Travis Shaw.

The deal was announced Tuesday and was the first trade at baseball's winter meetings.

Milwaukee also got minor league infielder Mauricio Dubon, minor league right-hander Josh Pennington and a player to be named or $100.

The 28-year-old Thornburg will become Boston's eighth-inning guy, setting up closer Craig Kimbrel for the AL East champions. Thornburg was 8-5 with 13 saves and a 2.15 ERA in 67 games for the Brewers, striking out 90 in 67 innings.

The 26-year-old Shaw hit .242 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs last season. He mostly played third base, and also saw time at first.

The 22-year-old Dubon hit a combined .323 and scored 101 runs between the Single-A and Double-A levels. The 21-year-old Pennington was 5-3 with a 2.86 ERA in Class A (see full story).

Yankees to retire Jeter's No 2 on May 14, last single digit
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter's No. 2 is being retired, the last of the New York Yankees' single digits.

The Yankees said Tuesday the number will be retired on May 14 before a Mother's Day game against Houston, and a plaque in his honor will be unveiled in Monument Park during the ceremony.

Jeter's number is the 21st retired by the team. He won five World Series titles and was a 14-time All-Star during a 20-season career that ended in 2014 and he is sixth in career hits with 3,465.

Jeter set Yankees records for hits, games (2,747), at-bats (11,195), doubles (544) and stolen bases (358) (see full story).