Does anybody really, for certain, know what happened last night with the stuff on Kenny Rogers' hand? It wasn't dirt. I know what dirt looks like intimately from my years being the brainy kid at a tiny Catholic school. Dirt doesn't like, cluster, or whatever. And it's not usually shiny. Plus, did anybody else think they saw a oval-shaped section on the back of Rogers' cap that wasn't the exact same color as the rest of it? I mean, how does that happen by accident? Do precision dirt artisans go to work on the Gambler's hats before every game for like, luck? What ingredients are they using to make the "dirt" behave in an opposite fashion from all other dirt ever?
And even if it was dirt, or more appropriately, mud, isn't that still pretty much against the rules? Do I have a copy of the official rules of baseball handy? Yes, you bet I do. (Christmas 2002. A stocking stuffer. Thanks, Mom.) But anyway, 8.02(a)(2): "[The pitcher may not] apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball." Which includes mud, as mentioned specifically and rather charmingly in 8.02(a)(6): "[The pitcher may not] deliver what is called the 'shine' ball, 'spit' ball, 'mud' ball, or 'emery' ball." Italics mine!
The rules are a little fuzzier on what the appropriate punishment is if the pitcher is found to have been applying "shine," "mud," or "spit" to his balls. (I just cracked myself up.) The first pitch is supposed to be called a ball and then a warning is given; ejection comes if the pitcher does it again after the warning. This is one of the many rules in the major league set that is elsewhere contradicted by at least two other rules. In any event, it was a pretty bizarre little sequence and like the rest of you, I'm sure, I still don't exactly know what to think. Here's what I know for sure. The argument being advanced by the Fox broadcast guys last night doesn't fly. Rogers' transgression is so obvious that it...shouldn't be punished? What? Does that mean if I rob you in broad daylight in front of a whole stadium full of people and numerous HD cameras I should be found innocent, because obviously I'm either insane or mentally inferior? This is weird. Even if he was cheating by accident (and that argument to me assumes that we the viewers are ourselves mentally inferior), he was still cheating. Whatever happened to the rule of law, people?
Dan Patrick was on the radio when I went out for lunch a moment ago theorizing that Tony La Russa elected not to make a big stink about the illegal substance thing because Jim Leyland used to work for the Cardinals and therefore he knows how all the Cardinals' pitchers cheat themselves. First of all: Wow, has everybody been cheating? I had no idea. It's like steroids all over again. Second: It's the World Series. I know you and Mr. Jimmy are friends and everything, but you gots to play to win. You can send him a fruit basket and a carton of Kools in November. Third of all: Where does it say that the opposing manager has to complain before rubbing "dirt" on the ball becomes officially illegal? Where are the umpires? What on earth is going on here? I think I need to go have a nice little lie-down in a dark, quiet room.
I'm too confused to really properly direct my hatred this afternoon, but once again, the man has kind of done our work for us. For giving Todd Jones way, way too many chances to blow the entire World Series for you last night...YOU SUCK, JIM LEYLAND. Free Zumaya!