Long After Cole Sheds Barroom Fight History, Barroom Isn't So Lucky

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When Cole Hamels recently graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, the highlight of the story for many of us was his plan to adopt an AIDS orphan from Africa with his wife, Heidi Strobel. But the lingering effect of that story for a certain drinking establishment in Clearwater, Florida, was the renewal of its image as a Double Deuce–style brawler's bar.

Any full story on Cole's rise to glory is likely to include the night he injured his hand in a fight at a bar called Razzel's in Clearwater. Hell, even Ed Wade brought it up when addressing the Phillies—many of whom he drafted—winning the World Series after he was run out of town.

I'm happy it finally happened. I wished it had happened in '05. I tell people if Cole hadn't broken his hand at the pool room he probably would have been up at some point during the season when [Randy] Wolf got hurt and things might have been different.

So naturally, when SI brought the Cole Hamels story to millions of readers, the scene at Razzel's was relived, and the bar's owner is livid with what she believes is a false and damaging portrayal.

The cover story described Razzel's as a beer joint where "four
quarters will buy two tablets identified by the handwritten sign on the
men's room vending machine as MAX AROUSE SEX STIMULENT (sic).
There's cold Jagermeister on tap, and the SMOKING PERMITTED signs on
the front doors serve as more of an enticement than a warning."

Everett is livid.

"I
do not like that they portray me as some sleazy hooker bar," she said.
"I worked hard for this business, and I'm not going to let anything
happen to it. This is my life here, and I think they hurt me
tremendously."

That perception of Razzel's has cost her some business, she said. "It's not enough to close me, but I did see an effect."

...

The article goes on to say that Razzel's "is not the kind of
establishment the Phillies like their players to frequent" and that
players for the Clearwater Threshers, a Phillies' minor league club,
are fined $500 if their cars are seen in the parking lot.

Other participants in the fight that night have, like Cole, moved on from it, only obviously without the beautiful celeb wife, parade, and SI cover. William Gwaltney, a teammate of Cole's at the time, was released by the team in 2005, which he attributes to his role in the fight, speaks highly of Cole and is now pursuing a business degree. And the guy they fought, T.J Ferrol?

"I have no hard feelings,'' Ferrol said. "I don't carry bad blood. It
was a drunken barroom fight. It wasn't like he did anything to my
mother. I'd shake his hand and congratulate him for winning the World
Series."

Still, the bar's owners continue to battle that image. Having never been anywhere near Razzel's we can't say whether it's a bum rap or an accurate portrayal.

But if we get down to Spring Training any time soon, you can bet we're spending a few hours at the bar where Cole Hamels messed up his hand.

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