Cole Trickle was such a hypocrite. When Harry Hogge gave the young cocky kid a chance, Trickle did nothing but wreck other drivers, get into a fight his crew chief in pit row, and made enemies with other drivers including veteran, Rowdy Burns. Then after a wreck, in which he was too arrogant to slow down to avoid, he gets upset when another young cocky kid comes along in Russ Wheeler. “Our hero” Cole does anything is his power (including intentionally wrecking him after Wheeler wins a race) to get back on top as the King of Young Cocky Drivers. Drop the hammer, Cole. And do it for Harry.
Now it’s time for a sexy segue.
- Days of Thunder was produced by the late Don Simpson.
- Simpson was born in Seattle, Washington.
- It takes about an hour to get from Seattle to Port Orchard, WA via the Bremerton Ferry.
- It just so happens that, Baltimore Orioles opening day starter, Jason Hammel is from Port Orchard.
Segue complete! Whew.
Hammel is no Cole Trickle. After being drafted 10th by the Rays in 2002 he spent four years in the minors before making his debut against (guess who?) the Orioles. Since then, Hammel has been marred in mediocrity. Before last year Hammel didn’t have an ERA under 4.33 or a WHIP south of 1.38. He was at best a DayStreamer. Then came last year. Hammel was traded to Baltimore and had a career year. He had a career best 3.43 ERA and a WHIP of 1.237 that also was a personal best. So what gives? Would the real Jason Hammel please stand up? Some stats. Hammel is not a workhorse, in fact he only pitched 118 innings last year, so the sample size is much smaller than the 174 average during his 3-year stint in the not-so-friendly-confines of Colorado. Hammel doesn’t pitch better in Baltimore. In Camden, where he has pitched the third most innings of his career, the righty has a career ERA of 4.02. It might be his battery-mate Matt Wieters. They teamed up 19 times last year and with Wieters as catcher they combined for a 3.38 ERA. Not too shabby. But the difference last year as opposed to his previous years was the fact that he was simply missing bats. Instead of years past in which he relied heavily on a fastball/slider/curve combination, Hammel started to rely more on his sinker and slider. In fact, he threw more sliders last year than in any other years at a clip of 22.4%. He had never thrown for more than 19.1% sliders in a single season. It seemed to work. Last year he had a career low contact rate of 75% and a personal best 18% swinging strike percentage. My suggestion is to watch Hammel. If he is throwing sliders and sinkers in the early part of the year, he may have another career year as he grows more comfortable with those secondary pitches. If he is relying on his fastball, welcome back to Jason Hammel circa 2011. While he may never be Cole Trickle, Hammel just may have the same traits as another crafty veteran, one Rowdy Burns.