Philadelphia’s Ace Is Faced with Some Bad Karma

March 18, 2009

Long before the start of this year’s spring training, the city of Philadelphia was in a state of ecstasy over their beloved Fightin’ Phils. They had just successfully captured their first World Series in more than a quarter-century by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays. After a long extravagant parade down Broad Street, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins decided the best way to enjoy the festivities was to blurt out the first thing that came to his mind. Seizing the moment, he gave the baseball world a subtle reminder that even though the Mets have an ace on their staff, it still takes a whole team to win a championship.

Coincidentally, Philadelphia has an ace of their own: Cole Hamels. And like Rollins, the left-hander also has a tendency to be a tad loose-lipped. As a guest on a NY mid-day radio show, Hamels defiantly called his biggest rival, the Mets, “choke artists” for failing to make the post-season the last two seasons. Mets fans and players alike were not the least bit impressed.

With all the negativity that has been pointed towards the Mets by the Phillies these last few seasons, it was inevitable that Philadelphia was going to get a little taste of their own medicine. The reports coming out of Phillies’ camp most recently do not sound very promising. Hamels anticipated opening day start is currently labeled as a “long shot.” The left-hander has recently been complaining of tightness in his pitching elbow. Leaving nothing to chance, GM Ruban Amaro, Jr. had the 2008 Playoff MVP flown up north to the City of Brotherly Love to undergo an MRI. The results showed there was no structural damage. However, he was given an anti-inflammatory injection for the swelling in his elbow.

“I’ve always had just soreness in the back or elbow but it’s always gone away in a week to two weeks,” said Hamels. “Truly, I think it might have been more so, throwing too hard too soon.”

The 26-year-old left-hander’s words sounded eerily familiar to what Mets Johan Santana said caused his elbow to stiffen up. Santana accelerated his pre-season conditioning with the goal to participate in the World Baseball Classic for his native Venezuela. He was also advised to get a MRI on his elbow but in his case, it wasn’t necessary; the pain eventually went away.

The strange similarities between both pitchers’ uncertainties may have some experts scratching their heads. Could it be possible that the Phillies are that dark and disturbed that they would conjure up this scoop just to slight their self-proclaimed nemesis, the Mets? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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