At 67 years old and a baseball lifer, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland knows a little something about 'old school baseball.' The three-time manager of the year and former World Series Champion decided to weigh in on the Cole Hamels-Bryce Harper situation and believes strongly a five-game suspension doesn't fit the crime, that Hamels should have been disciplined much more harshly.
Speaking with Tigers play-by-play man Dan Dickerson on his pregame radio show, here is what Leyland had to say:
"I don't know the man," Leyland said of the Phillies pitcher. "I know he's a very good pitcher, a very talented guy, but when you come out and admit hitting Harper on purpose 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.'
"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."
"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," he 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."
It sounds like Leyland wants dramatic changes in baseball and Hamels has exposed what he perceives as a league-wide problem. Quite an interesting take coming from one of baseball's old hands.