Judging from his reputation in the minor leagues and his flashy hair-do upon arriving in the majors, it's no surprise 19-year-old Nationals phenom Bryce Harper is at the center of controversy. What's surprising is that the controversy is not of his own doing and the loudest mouth in the whole thing belongs to his GM.
It all started during Sunday's Nationals/Phillies game when Cole Hamels hit Harper:
The situation was exacerbated after the game when Hamels admitted to hitting Harper.
"I was trying to hit him," Hamels said. "I'm trying to continue the old baseball. I think some people kind of get away from it."
Harper got his revenge two batters later, stealing home:
Hamels got hit by Nats hurler Jordan Zimmerman later in the game, but Zimmerman said it was not on purpose, given it was a bunt situation where Hamels was attempting to give the Nats an out. The Phillies won the game, 9-3, Hamels the winning pitcher, Zimmerman the loser. Harper finished 2-for-3 with a double and a run.
After the game Hamels made his statement and Harper took the high road, calling Hamels a great pitcher. The situation appeared over.
Then Nationals GM Mike Rizzo got involved.
"Cole Hamels says he's old school?" Rizzo told the Washington Post. "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.
"Players take care of themselves. I've never seen a more classless, gutless, chicken [expletive] act in my 30 years of baseball.
"With all the bounty [stuff] going on in professional football, the commissioner better act with a purpose on this thing."