By Robin Rieger
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There was a new buzz at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.
Fans headed into the park for the afternoon game excited by news that the Phillies had signed pitcher Cole Hamels to a six-year, $144 million deal, the largest in Philadelphia sports history and the second highest for a major league pitcher.
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“I think it’s great; it’s the best thing that’s happened to the city in a long time,” said John McTague of Westville, NJ.
“He’s absolutely worth it. He’s been here since beginning of his career,” agreed Chris Antosy of Manayunk.
The 28-year-old left-handed ace quickly became a fan favorite after his major league debut with the Phils in 2006. He was the MVP of the 2008 National League Championship series and the 2008 World Series. No one we spoke to thought the dollar figure was too high.
“His skill,” said Hugh Doherty. “It’s totally worth it for the money.”
“If we didn’t don’t it, someone else would do it—Rangers, Dodgers, someone. So if you want to compete, you have to sign those players,” said Brian Fredrick of Clifton Heights.
Hamels jerseys were getting some attention at the majestic clubhouse store, too.
“I’m here for a Hamels jersey, for sure. I was so excited coming down 95 hearing the news that he resigned,” said Tracey Matalon of Morristown.
So whose shirts could be on sale soon if the Phillies want to unload a player to make Hamels’ contract more affordable?
Shane Victorino’s name came up.
“He’s kind of the odd man out right now,” said Brent Murray of Philadelphia.
Another name mentioned was Cliff Lee’s.
“He’s got one win,” said Chris Antosy.
Most fans said they wanted the team to stay intact, and despite being very far back, hoped that the Phillies could make a run at the playoffs.