Cole Hamels describes experiencing the Hawaii missile scare

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Rangers pitcher <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/7509/" data-ylk="slk:Cole Hamels">Cole Hamels</a> and his family were in Hawaii when the false missile alert was sent out. (Getty Images)
Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels and his family were in Hawaii when the false missile alert was sent out. (Getty Images)

Texas Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels and family were among the millions to experience the frightening Hawaii missile false alarm firsthand.

According to Jori Epstein of the Dallas News, the Hamels were vacationing near Maui on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 14. when the state accidentally sent an emergency alert of a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii.” The alert, which Hamels says he initially ignored, was capped by the chilling words “this is not a drill.”

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While those around his family scrambled to seek shelter, Hamels says he went about his business until finally noticing that the alert was something potentially life-threatening. Hamels says there was no place to go anyway, so they hunkered down in their hotel room until the state finally acknowledged that a mistake had been made.

“I’m like psht we’ve got 20 minutes, we’re screwed,” Hamels told the Dallas News on Wednesday. “You see that [warning], I’m going all right we’re screwed. We were just like, ‘OK.’

“We would’ve been dead in 3 seconds so I’m like after 20 minutes… that’s the whole thing. I can’t do anything about it.”

For those who read the alert right away, 38 terrifying minutes passed before the all clear came. Hamels and his wife were at least spared a few seconds of terror. As for his children, Hamels says they never mentioned the alert to them, electing to save them from experiencing the same anxious feelings that led to a state of panic all around them.

That’s a commendable act that shows remarkable poise and compassion in the face of potential imminent danger. Some might say Hamels and his wife should have reacted more urgently, but at that point they realized there was nothing they could do to protect the children physically. That was out of their hands. All they could do was their best to protect them from feeling the same fear that was overwhelming others.

That’s not to say anyone deserves criticism for how they handled the situation. It’s impossible for any of us to know how we would react under those circumstances. Only those who experienced this terrifying event firsthand know how they reacted. If we heard all of their stories, we would probably learn something different from all of them.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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