The headline is my interpretation of what Jim Leyland meant when giving his opinion of the five-game suspension the MLB brought down on Cole Hamels after he hit Bryce Harper Sunday night and then admitted it was his intention after the game:â†µ
"I don't know the man," Leyland said of Hamels. "I know he's a very good pitcher, a very talented guy, but when you come out and admit [hitting Harper intentionally] like that -- that ball could have missed, hit him in the head or something else like that -- and you come out and admit that, I think five games is way too light, in my personal opinion. And I would expect that if that was my pitcher, if my pitcher went out and, almost in a braggadocious way, talked about hitting a guy and that, 'I did it on purpose.'â†µâ†µ
"I felt the way I read it, and I don't know if the kid meant it this way, but it was almost like a braggadocious thing. That's not enough. There's no way." [...]â†µ
"It upsets me because if you watch Major League Baseball, a lot of times one of your guys hits [a batter], one of their guys hits [a batter], the umpires are very quick to warn both benches about a situation like that," Leyland said, "and a lot of times there's nothing going on at all, but they just want to stop something before it starts. ... This is a great time ... to show that we mean business, and I think this suspension is way, way too light."â†µ
The thing is, it's uncommon to see a pitcher puffing his chest and saying, "yeah, I hit that guy on purpose"; it's usually the old cliché, "the pitch just got away from me." Notice how Leyland doesn't mention Jordan Zimmerman's obvious retaliation, which received zero punishment?â†µ
Leyland's an old school guy -- remember, he doen't want instant replay -- and brushing hitters back and sending messages is 'part of the game.' If Leyland still believes in what's inherently 'part of the game', I have to imagine he thinks there's still a place for the occasional purposeful plunking; he just doesn't want pitchers getting all 'braggadocious' about it.