Right Field

Wednesday Wallpaper: Hamilton’s 4 HRs, Rizzo Fined, Blake to Retire, Unleashing a Better WAR

Other than “Wow!” do you know of another way to describe Josh Hamilton’s five-hit, four-home-run performance? As Jeff Sullivan of Baseball Nation points out, he came pretty close to hitting five. Hamilton earned 18 total bases last night, the most ever in a game for a player not named Shawn Green, who collected 19 during the 2002 season.

 

 

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was fined an undisclosed amount for his Monday morning tirade against Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels. Credit Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post for taking copious notes.

“Players take care of themselves,” Rizzo said after I called him this morning. “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] act in my 30 years in baseball.

“Cole Hamels says he’s old school? He’s the polar opposite of old school. He’s fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us after hitting our 19-year-old rookie who’s eight games into the big leagues? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.” . . .

“With all the bounty [stuff] going on in professional football, the commissioner better act with a purpose on this thing,” Rizzo said. “Players have a way of monitoring themselves. We’re not here to hit people and hurt people.

“He thinks he’s sending a message to us of being a tough guy. He’s sending the polar opposite message. He says he’s being honest; well, I’m being honest. It was a gutless chicken [bleep] [bleeping] act. That was a fake-tough act. No one has ever accused Cole Hamels of being old school.”

The Nationals-Phillies rivalry reached a new intensity this weekend, but Rizzo said the intentional plunking is a different matter.

“This goes beyond rivalry and all that stuff,” Rizzo said. “This points to, you take the youngest guy in baseball. He’s never done a thing. And then Hamels patted himself on the back. Harper’s old school. Hitting him on the back, that ain’t old school. That’s [bleeping] chicken [bleep].

Casey Blake told the Des Moines Register that he is retiring after 13 big league seasons, mostly with the Indians and the Dodgers. Blake, 38, retires with a .264/.336./442 slash line.

Hippeaux at It’s About the Money reminds us that Sean Foreman of Baseball-Reference recently improved its version of WAR, the statistic for wins above replacement. According to the new bWAR (Fangraphs’ version is known as fWAR), Roy Halladay was the most impressive player on the diamond last year. (Matt Kemp, who had been no. 1 in the old version, finished ninth.) The top position player, Ben Zobrist, finished fourth, behind Cliff Lee and MVP/Cy Young winner Justin Verlander. Jacoby Ellsbury was fifth.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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