The people who say it’s premature to get excited by Cole Hamels are the fans who’ve had their hearts broken hardest by the Philadelphia Phillies.
The rest of us have already lowered our defenses, a sign of strength, not weakness. We’re not afraid to watch Hamels pitch, watch him hit, watch him drink water from a cup in the dugout and believe every moment will lead to a certain ending. We’ve already silhouetted his figure from the TV screen, removed the colorless backdrop of Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Arizona, and replaced it with Citizens Bank Park. We wonder what it would sound like to hear his name repeated by Joe Buck. We wonder who would win a battle between Hamels and Derek Jeter.
The Phillies announcers are rarely as quiet as they’ve been the three games Hamels has pitched. They are instructed to believe it's too early, but like us, they are awestruck. Their routine does not include words for him. There are no words for him. So they watch, and imagine, like us. There is no other way to do it.