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Cole Hamels

Answer Man Interview w/ Cole Hamels - Apr 2008

By David Brown

Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels doesn’t turn 25 until December, but he already has 77 major league starts with an All-Star appearance under his belt. He’s also married to a former reality TV star, and has learned a key lesson about how to handle the money that ballplayers can make. 
After a recent bullpen session at Citizens Bank Park, Hamels expressed what it’s like to follow in the larger-than-anticipated steps of Steve Carlton, in a sometimes-comically passionate sports town, where odd-colored simians might follow your every move.

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Bugs & Cranks Interview with Cole Hamels - August 2007

Interview with Meech

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?  

CH: Yes.

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 DeadspinThe Big Leador 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.

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"Last, but hardly last… . Kid Quantum, the youth who alters Newtonian laws of physics. At 27 he’s the greenest and handsomest of The Four, the tall, skinny collector of superhero cards and a self-professed geek in adolescence … until the day 10 years ago that Cole Hamels ran full-speed into a parked car playing street football and suffered, unbeknownst to him, a stress fracture of the humerus in his left arm. The long bone snapped like a pine branch in mid-pitch during his next summer league game, dropping him to the dirt in pain and seeming to extinguish his big league dreams. Only for him to discover, upon his recovery a year later, that that left arm now could bend time and distance, could launch a white pellet that left his hand looking exactly like his 93-mile-an-hour sizzler but then screeched to a halt and began to bend, leaving his foes swinging at something that had not even reached them yet, coiling them in knots."  - excerpt from Gary Smith’s article “The Legion of Arms" in the April ‘11 issue of Sports Illustrated 


Phillies Nation Interview With Cole - March 2009

PN: Okay, no baiting: Seriously, how do you feel about the New York Mets?

Hamels: The Mets are a good organization with really talented players and finally, a new stadium. It makes the game better when you have two really good teams playing each other with great fans watching. Philly fans are the best. I can’t wait for this year’s games against them. Baseball needs rivalries.

PN: Chipper Jones recently said the back and forth between Phils and Mets players (citing you) was childish. What’s your take?

Hamels: Chipper Jones is a great baseball player. I have a lot of respect for him, and he can say anything he wants.

PN: So you want to win 20 games. And a Cy Young. And pitch a no-hitter. Those are the three things left, right? Which is most likely this season?

Hamels: I would like to win 20 games. With that Cy Youngs come and no-hitters just happen.

PN: Were you even a little nervous pitching the clinching game of the World Series?

Hamels: I wasn’t nervous to pitch game five because I still knew that we had three games to win the World Series. It makes it easier to put games in that perspective even though I wanted to win it when I pitched.

PN: Do you have individual pitching goals for 2009? Working on any individual pitches more than others? Working on any new pitches?

Hamels: Most of my new goals always start with me being able to pitch every possible start and to amass 200-plus innings. You can’t affect your wins because it has to be the team that … scores the runs, but if I can keep my ERA below 3.50 you’re doing something right.

PN: Some of your critiques have said the curveball isn’t as strong. Do you think that’s true? How confident are you in your curve?

Hamels: My curveball sucks. I’m still trying to prefect it. I think it might take my entire career to figure it out, but I will always keep trying.

PN: Jamie Moyer has always had success against the Marlins and teams that are usually younger and more aggressive. Is that true for you? Does it seem hitters have a harder time beating you when they barely see you, or are younger (such as the Rays)?

Hamels: I believe it is true that you will have success more often than not against a team that hasn’t seen you, vs. teams that have. With slowing down the game — a.k.a. the change up — you will be able to have success against aggressive hitters.

PN: Tell us about the Cole Hamels Foundation.

Hamels: First it’s the Hamels Foundation, because my wife is the biggest part of it. The foundation is dedicated to instilling a community-based approach in education based on providing assistance to inner-city schools in the United States, including but not limited to providing stimulating learning environments, educational programs, as well as provisions. As kindred spirits our global commitment extends to the awareness and elimination of HIV/AIDS through women’s empowerment and education in Malawi, one of the poorest and most impoverished nations. Critical intervention with orphaned children to break the cycle of disease and poverty in which they have been too long trapped is our primary intent. I hope that helps explain it.

PN: Pat Burrell was partial to the Irish Pub, but where will you hang out now that you’re living in Center City?

Hamels: Whoever has the coldest and best-tasting beer!

Here are some questions the Nation posed to Cole, and his answers:

Out of all the games you pitched in the 2008 regular season, is there one that stands out or that you really cherish?
— Manny

Hamels: The one game that stands out the most is the game against Atlanta where I gave up 9 runs in the 4th inning. I didn’t act myself and therefore wasn’t able to get out of the inning, almost causing us to lose (we scored nine in the bottom of the fourth). I look at failure as your best way to judge yourself, and how you prepared and performed.

One of the challenges of being the ace is that you tend to face off against the other team’s strongest pitcher, as well. Is that going to hurt your goal to make 20 wins?
— Kieran

Hamels: I think when you’re able to pitch against the best the other team has to offer you really find out how good you are. You cant let your guard down, making you play better. I like the challenge, and when I win 20 it will be worth it!


Cole Hamels Interview From Sports Illustrated July 2007

By Ben Reiter

IF THE PHILLIES are going to make a run at the postseason—they were five games back in the NL East through Sunday—they’ll likely be led by All-Star lefty Cole Hamels, he of the slugger-freezing changeup. The 17th overall pick of the 2002 draft, he came within nine outs of a perfect game against Milwaukee this year. So, perfect he’s not. But charmed? He was 11—4 with an NL-best 126 strikeouts, he’s married to a Playboy cover girl, and, oh, yes, he’s 23.

On his fan club, the Cole Miners
They dress up. They have the hats with the lights, and every time I get out of an inning or strike a guy out they start digging like they’re miners with a [pick]ax. It’s funny. Philly fans love that stuff. For Flash [reliever Tom Gordon], it’s superheroes. They dress up like Superman, Spider-man, the Flash, Ninja Turtles. They go nuts.

On how he learned his devastating changeup
Growing up near San Diego, everybody threw 94 miles an hour. I needed to develop something to make my fastball effective. My high school pitching coach [Mark Furtak] taught me the circle change, and I messed with it over the years. The arm action I use comes naturally.

On a surgical enhancement
I broke my pitching arm [humerus] in a game when I was 16. I heard a snap, like a broken tree branch, and the ball went straight up. When I came back, my changeup was better. The doctors said, as a joke, that when they put my arm back together, they turned it a little bit. I laughed, but my changeup was dropping more.

On ColeHamelsFacts.com, a collection of humorous, made-up “facts” about him submitted by fans and modeled on the famous chucknorrisfacts.com
I first heard of it last year. Fans were mailing me facts. I didn’t know what they were, but they were funny. I posted them in my locker, and everybody started reading them. [Phillies starter] Adam Eaton came up with “WhenCole Hamels kneels to say his bedtime prayers, he overhears God thanking himself for creating Cole Hamels.” [Reliever] Clay Condrey has one: “The HOV lane was created for Hamels and his changeup.”

On meeting his wife, Playboy model and Survivor contestant Heidi Strobel
She had an appearance when I was in A ball in Clearwater [in 2004]; it was Survivor day at the ballpark. I [went] to get her autograph, and I asked her out. She said yes, if I’d come to Missouri—Springfield, where she’s from. I flew out two weeks later. We went to a concert and a movie: Cellular. I still have the movie-ticket stub. We got married last New Year’s Eve.

On what he was like at Rancho Bernardo High
A dork. Really shy. I’d hang out in the athletic group and was a bit standoffish. I didn’t date anyone because I was focusing on baseball and that’s what I did every day. Then I’d go home and play computer games.

On his parents
One reason I was shy in school is that my dad, Gary, is a school district assistant superintendent, and my mom, Amanda, is a teacher. Every teacher knew them. If I ever did anything wrong, they could just hit speed dial. I never did, though. The last thing I wanted to do was disappoint my parents.