Cole Hamels, the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, has been given a five-day suspension for beaning Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals on Sunday. (Hamels admitted that the hit was intentional, saying he did it to welcome the 19-year-old Harper to the MLB.) Beanballs are against the rules, so some kind of punishment was certainly in order. But what kind of punishment is applicable in these situations? According to a 2011 law review article, Hamels is lucky to be in the big leagues—and not just for the salary.
Something wonderful, or terrible, is taking place in Philadelphia. The city's sports fans, whose only consistent love has been for an inanimate object--the statue of Rocky--are becoming warm and fuzzy. Sort of. Kind of. Well, about as nice as they are ever going to get in Philly, where fans have made their national mark with nastiness, boos, and a perverse fondness for losing. But now the city is confronted with a success story greater than any since the signing of the Constitution (which wasn't so pretty, either). It's the Philadelphia Phillies, of course.
Whatever happens in the National League and American League Championship series unfolding over the next week or so, one outcome has already been decided--the effective end of the theories of Moneyball as a viable way to build a playoff-caliber baseball team when you don't have the money. That no doubt sounds like heresy to the millions who embraced Michael Lewis's 2003 book, but all you need to do is keep in mind one number this postseason: 528,620,438.