4 Aces? More Like 3

In his column “Hamels doesn’t deserve boos in Phillies loss to Mets,” Paul Hagen goes over the ins and outs of last night’s game and summarily breaks down what went wrong for Cole Hamels – that is to say, everything. He couldn't command his pitches, he couldn’t get out of jams (aside from a lucky tight-rope out of danger in the first inning that would have certainly ended differently had he not had to deal with a washed up Carlos Beltran and career bench player Scott Hairston), and he couldn’t even get out his counterpart Chris Young, who went 2-for-2 off the southpaw.

Hagen concludes his column thusly:

In the end, that was probably the most disappointing thing of all that happened at Citizens Bank Park last night.

Respectfully, Hagen is way off here. The only thing disappointing is the fact that Hamels is lumped in with the triumvirate of Halladay, Lee and Oswalt – three proven Aces – in some misguided fit of altruistic inclusion to try and make us, the fans, feel better about his turd of a performance last night.

We’re living in an age of political correctness, and apologists will do anything they can so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of their user base, lest someone writes a harshly worded letter of complaint to the editor. It’s gone too far, I say.

It’s infiltrated our television sets, our schools, our jobs, and now, the ballparks, which was the last bastion of freedom of expression in this country. There are no rules when you pass through the turnstiles that dictate how you cheer or jeer. You want to boo the other team? Go for it. You want to boo your own? Have at it. When standing-room-only tickets cost a cool fifty bucks, I feel it’s our right to do what we want, just short of running onto the field (like some yahoo did last night).

So when Hamels throws up (like he made a lot of us do, I suspect) that outing, let him have it. And to the likes of Hagen and the rest of the gently-ribbing crowd: What did you expect? Hamels has never won a Cy Young like Halladay or Lee and he’s never won 20 games like Oswalt. Heck, he’s only 14 games above .500 for his career. And you call him an Ace? What's he ever done? 

While Halladay and Lee and Oswalt have united this town, Hamels has done just the opposite by starring in commercials and doing his own thing and carrying on like some sort of prima donna that feels like he is entitled to your respect and admiration. 

And right on cue, the apologists (and there are many) will point to his 2008 season as a reason to give him a break. Like we should applaud a 14-win season? Please. He was only one player on a team that was jacked with talent and heart. And speaking of heart, 2009 much? That’s what I thought.

So boo, Philadelphia. Boo away. We had the chance to do something that no one in the history of the game has ever done, and Cole blew it. As one of my Twitter colleagues astutely pointed out, if the Phillies only win three out of four starts from the Four Aces (Three Aces is more like it) and lose every start from Joe Blanton, they will only win 97 games this season. 97!

So that’s it, then, I guess. Another ho-hum 97-win season. Thanks a lot, Cole.

*NBCPhiladelphia.com is not responsible for the reader’s lack of a sarcasm detector.

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