Just in case you don’t know, Cole Hamels is the future of Phillies pitching. Drafted by the Phils with the 17th pick in the 2002 amateur draft, Cole battled with some minor injury problems early in his career before speeding through the minor leagues and eventually settling in with the ballclub full time in 2006. Since then, he has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the majors, piling up strikeouts and wins at a rate
As luck would have it, Cole graciously agreed to sit down with Bugs & Cranks this week and answer some of my juvenile questions. We cover a wide variety of topics including the Phillies, his beautiful wife Heidi, rap music & Lindsay Lohan.
Me(ech): First of all Cole, how’s the elbow feeling? Are you still on schedule to make that September 3rd start vs. the Bravos?
Cole Hamels: Doing alright. I will be making my start against the Marlins September 2nd.
MM: Back on May 16th of this year, you had arguably the most dominant start of your career against the red-hot Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. One play that no one talked about, that bugged the shit outta me, happened in the top of the fifth inning. Youse guys had a 5-0 lead with two outs and nobody on base; Brewers OF Corey Hart was at-bat and attempted a bunt to break up your perfect game. Do you recall that play?
MM: He fouled it off, and after getting mercilessly booed by the Philthie fans, he changed his mind and decided to swing the bat instead. He wound up flying out weakly to right field, but that had to bother you, right?
CH: Yes, I dislike when any guy bunts period, unless it is the situation to move a runner over.
MM: Did you have to restrain yourself from drilling him in between his shoulder blades with a fastball the following pitch?
CH: No, because I still had the perfect game going on, and I wouldn’t jeopardize that.
MM: Where did your 6 o’clock-type leg kick come from? Did you have to work on that or is it just natural?
CH: No, that definitely came natural. I don’t know how and why, but everyone thinks I’m going to pull something!
MM: Besides Bugs & Cranks (that goes without saying), do you ever check any other sports websites? Philly has some great ones, like The 700 Level & Beerleaguer, or more national-centric ones like Deadspin, The Big Lead or With Leather?
CH: No, I most definitely don’t read any of the other websites. No offense, but I don’t like to listen to other peoples comments because I have way too much to focus on so that I can get ready for my turn in the rotation.
[Note to Cole: As you might be able to tell by the journalistic integrity of the following question, it wasn't asked by me. Clare from the Ladies... has incriminating evidence that could put me in jail for a looong time -- but agreed to destroy it immediately if you answer her question. Which, in reality, is actually three questions disguised as one.]
Clare: Because of your history of injuries, did you feel a greater sense of urgency to enter the draft straight out of high school? Did you feel that if you played college ball your chance to be drafted would pass you by? Do you eventually want to get your degree? I am intrigued by this since both of your parents are educators.
CH: Yes, Yes and Yes! It is hard to pass on an opportunity ($$$$$$) like this one since they will pay for my college education someday anyway, so I thought it was the best of both worlds. I knew I could have gotten drafted out of college in the first round though, I just thought I wouldn’t be learning anything important to help me compete at the major league level — that’s what the minors are for. And for my parents; they didn’t want me to sign because they wanted me to go to college. I will get my degree someday because I have to compete with my wife, she has a masters and working on a PhD; plus I don’t want my kids to hold that against me one day!
[/end serious questions]
MM: (Speaking of your wife…) You are married to the incredibly gorgeous Heidi from Survivor: The Amazon, what’s that like?
CH: It’s made all my dreams come true. She is definitely my soul-mate. She knows me inside and out, so it makes everything in life that much easier.
MM: And without insinuating that you enjoy being on the disabled list, having a woman like that to nurse you back to health has to make the transition to the DL smoother, no?
CH: She is very well educated in the injury aspect because she has her masters in exercise physiology, so she is on the up and up when it comes to staying healthy or healing injuries!
MM: Have any of your teammates ever brought her Playboy into the locker room to bust your balls?
CH: No, most of them don’t even know and if they did, I think they have the respect for us that they won’t, because of the respect I show them.
MM: Would that even bother you?
CH: Not really because I think it is a thing of beauty and if you’re that confident with your body and self, that’s showing a lot of life and courage that most people don’t have in themselves.
MM: This is more of a statement than a question, but it’s gotta feel nice knowing that without ever appearing on the show, you were actually the biggest winner from Survivor, right?
CH: That’s an understatement. Things couldn’t be more perfect.
MM: I mean, think about it, take away your MLB career you’re still much better off than that Richard Hatch fella.
CH: Haha, yeah, I’m hoping to make a million without being sent to jail.
MM: Philadelphia fans: Passionate die-hards or Crazy, maniacal lunatics?
CH: 40% Passionate die-hards, 60% crazy, lunatics and fair-weather fans.
MM: What are your favorite web sites?
CH: Fantasy Football, iTunes Store, Nike Store, sometimes YouTube.
MM: TV shows?
CH: Nip/Tuck and Entourage.
CH: Comic Book movies, Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Bourne series.
MM: Who would win in a fight? Cholly Manuel or Howard Eskin? (I have Cholly in a 1st Round KO)
CH: Can’t answer that one! How about option C?
MM: Alcoholic beverage of choice?
CH: Don’t drink too much anymore but if I really need on to chill out probably a Jack and Coke. Can’t go wrong with Coors Light, though.
MM: Name a better 1B/2B combination than Howard/Utley in the history of the sport. I dare you.
CH: Well I can’t even name a better 1B/2B/SS combination, can you?
MM: Ummm, no.
MM: On a scale of 1-10, how cool is Antonio Alfonseca?
CH: This isn’t my joke, but everytime you shake his hand you lose!! 6 to 5. Great guy all around.
MM: Favorite Rap album from the 1990’s?
CH: Dr. Dre, The Chronic 2001. [note: Before you say a word, that album did come out in 1999.]
MM: When you’re feeling down, do you read Cole Hamels Facts to cheer you up?
CH: Hahaha, I should! Never thought about it, but that’s why I have my wife!
MM: Did you ever Google yourself? [nh]
CH: Yes, when I first found out what Google was. I was in High School, all of my friends and I would compete to see who had the most articles written about them. I won once I got drafted, but haven’t really looked since.
MM: Can you spell ‘Retarded’? [Okay, bad joke. Don't answer that & I apologize.]
CH: Yes, M-I-C-H-A-E-L-M-I-L-I-C-I. [Just kidding. Back at ya.]
What are the chances – percentage wise – that the Phillies make the playoffs?
CH: 93% – Too many games to play!
MM: Is Ryan Howard human? Or a prototype cyborg designed specifically to mash homers?
CH: Probably both. We just won’t find out until we are all on our death beds and he is still in the big leagues hitting homerun # 22,001!!!!
MM: Alright – Eff, Marry, Kill — Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan & Paris Hilton.
CH: [note: Cole didn't know what F,M,K was and couldn't access the link I provided, but still had a terrific opinion anyway] I’m sure that those three are the dumbest people on earth, they have everything going their way, but seem to always screw it up. They are definitely not good role models and need some serious help if they want to put a positive spin on life!
And finally, how about hooking a brother up with some tickets?!
CH: Eff off, I can get you some tickets to last year’s games — no special thank you involved.
MM: Thanks, Cole!
And a major shout to Bugs & Cranks phenominal Orioles writer Patrick Smith, who made this interview possible. You just somehow finagled your way onto my Living Will, buddy.
Thank you, kind sir.