Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Those B-----s Tried to Cheat Me
2006-10-23 12:43
by Mark T.R. Donohue

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!

2006-10-23 13:31:03
1.   Gagne55
I also noticed that Rogers was frequenly rubbing the bill of his cap. I noticed that against Oakland too. Me thinks Rogers has been doctoring the ball all postseason. 23 scoreless innings don't come from a lefty journeyman.
2006-10-23 13:45:11
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
And from ESPN's Uni Watch comes the revelation that Rogers isn't even wearing the right cap. He prefers wearing the synthetic-fabric BP cap during games, which strictly speaking, is against the rules.

2006-10-23 13:46:15
3.   JIrv
Check out Deadspin's spin on the Gambler wearing BP hats instead of the 59/50 wool game jobs everyone else does. I think they are on to something.
2006-10-23 14:00:58
4.   underdog
Am I the only one who feels the Kenny Rogers pine tar TV coverage/commentary is reminiscent of the old SNL sketch "Buckwheat's Been Shot"?
2006-10-23 14:12:32
5.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I think it's kind of weird, actually. MLB and Fox seem to want to kind of laugh the whole thing off, but idiots like me are out to keep them from doing so. Is this the blogverse's One Shining Moment?
2006-10-23 14:19:33
6.   das411
Let's go watch HD game footage of every one of Rogers's starts now!! How could a 41-year-old journeyman lefty who lost in the playoffs for BOTH New York teams, have possibly have thrown a perfect game in 1994?? Unless he's....A WITCH!!!


2006-10-23 14:21:48
7.   das411
Jayson Stark's column today:

"See, it wasn't just his pitching hand that Rogers soiled on Sunday night. It was, regrettably, his whole sport. And that's a stain that will take a lot longer to wash off."

Who else here thinks that ESPN has done far far more damage to the game than any amount of crap on Kenny Rogers' hand could ever imagine to do?

2006-10-23 14:22:43
8.   Mark T.R. Donohue
If you're watching "Around the Horn" right now, they have extremely damning footage of Rogers in closeup from Game 3 of the ALDS and Game 3 of the ALCS. He's got the same shiny, sticky substance on the exact same part of the heel of his left (pitching) hand in both shots. This is really weird.
2006-10-23 14:27:51
9.   Shaun P
8 No wonder Kenny didn't notice it - its always there!
2006-10-23 14:59:11
10.   petycash
Did you actually say "you suck Jim Leyland". Thats probably one of the single most ridiculous things I have heard...along with kenny rogers saying it was dirt and that he wasn't told to remove it by the umpire. La Russa never asked for Kenny to be checked out and therefor forfeited the chance to get kenny out of the game. This should not be considered cheating because there is no hard proof and his hands were not examined... as for Leyland is concerned I doubt he told Kenny to use pine tar on his hands..and possibly didnt even know about it.
2006-10-23 15:12:10
11.   Kels
"you suck Jim Leyland" is an on going the last 3 or 4 post by Mark and you will understand...


2006-10-23 17:03:11
12.   Faramond
Yeah, I was yelling at Leyland to put Zumaya in too. Actually, I yelled at him to put in "that guy who throws really fast".

And I was certain that Mark would use that episode as his "YOU SUCK, JIM LEYLAND" example, which is sort of disturbing.

2006-10-23 21:57:42
13.   StolenMonkey86
I booed my TV when I saw Jones was going in. I want the game to be interesting because the gun is hitting 104, not because the closer sucks.
2006-10-24 19:05:39
14.   JimmyLungcancer
Again we see where Leyland escapes criticism where he should receive it.


Yet LaRussa- the "genius" Lungcancer learned all his stuff from supposedly- doesn't even ask anyone to check the foreign substance!

These two loons have for years been the two skippers all scribes have fawned over- even when they screw up.

Even when all- and I mean ALL- of their coaches have proven to be such unabashed FAILURES in their managerial jobs- these two have been the gold standard of baseball strategy- namely the overspecialization that now plagues the major leagues.

But while these two are very good at figuring out which one of their seven or so relief pitchers should be utilized to play lefty-righty in the sixth inning- they are pretty damned poor when it comes to the obvious-

Like asking the umpire to check for foreign substances

Or batting the pitcher ninth.

I'm convinced this series will not be won. It will be lost (sort of like the Seventh Game of the 1992 NLCS) by one of these two skippers.

Much like the way the Tigers lost their divison. Or the Cardinals lost 79 regular season games and only won their division because Roger Clemens wanted to take half the year off (or get clean for his steriods test).

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.