Tensions were running a little high in Kissimmee on Monday when a seemingly routine at-bat between the Houston Astros Bill Hall(notes) and the Philadelphia Phillies Cole Hamels(notes) quickly turned into a verbal altercation.
The hard feelings began when Hall felt as though Hamels had "quick: pitched him during their second inning confrontation. Wanting to establish his own pace, Hall's response was to step out of the batter's box as Hamels readied himself for the next delivery. When that delivery eventually came from a now annoyed Hamels, it was a fastball that backed Hall off the plate.
Feeling disrespected and now angered by the perceived message, Hall took a few steps towards the mound and offered some choice words before home plate umpire Laz Diaz stepped in front of him.
The on field incident didn't escalate beyond that. Bill Hall calmed down enough to finish the at-bat. Warnings were issued, but no ejections were necessary, and no players even left their bench. The story appeared to end right then and there.
In fact, after the game Hamels was ready to forget the issue, and even went out of his way to be complimentary of Hall.
"It's nothing," Hamels said. "He's a good guy. Just trying to get the game going. So … no hard feelings."
"It's one of those things, I kind of don't want to speak (about)," he told the Philadelphia media when asked if the pitch was on purpose. "It's baseball. I don't know him personally, but I do know he's a good guy. It's just kind of something that happens to get the game … it gets the game going, I don't know."
Unless of course the guy takes it personally and wants to visit you on the mound. Then it doesn't really serve the intended purpose of speeding up the game.
By the way, some three hours later over in the other clubhouse, Bill Hall was still taking it personally.
"He's definitely a marked man for me now, so when I do some damage off him, I'm going to let him know I did some damage off him. I can guarantee that. ... If you disrespect me, I'm going to do my best to disrespect you back. Obviously not in a way to disrespect the game, but obviously I'm going to let him know when I face him."
The Phillies and Astros actually meet in Philadelphia to open the season. Unfortunately, that's only a three game series, and Hamels, barring injury, will be penciled in as Philly's fourth starter. So I guess circle Sept. 12-14 on your calendars. That's when the teams rematch in Houston, though I would certainly hope Hall has found something else to occupy his mind by then.