Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Monday, October 23, 2006

Ooooh, that smudge!

Kind of a shame for the post-game chatter to focus on that "big clump of dirt" on Kenny Rogers' pitching hand during the first inning, eh?

Considering Rogers' pitched seven amazing innings after that with clean hands, the mysterious "discoloration" on his left hand would seem to be a moot point. I had kind of a sick feeling in my stomach, however, when ESPN showed clips from Rogers' other post-season starts, in which he also appeared to have something on his left hand.

But hey, if the umpires didn't think the smudge was suspicious enough to examine Rogers' hand, glove, hat, or anything else on his uniform, and if the Cardinals weren't demanding that kind of examination - or his immediate ejection from the game - then I guess it's not an issue, and Rogers isn't the real-life version of Major League's Eddie Harris.

If La Russa says "it's not important to talk about," Aaron Miles doesn't think Rogers was cheating, and Albert Pujols didn't notice anything, then that's it. No accusations. No excuses.

Or, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bryan Burwell (welcome back to Detroit, Bryan) speculates, Tony La Russa just didn't want to pursue that route. He wants his team to win because of their play on the field, not from pointing at the rule book.

As you might imagine, however, Cardinal Nation doesn't agree with that and is more than a bit upset about the smudge. Viva El Birdos cites the exact rule and calls Rogers a "cheat." Go Crazy, Folks! thinks Rogers was busted, should've been tossed, and may have still been cheating later in the game. (I'm eager to see what Mr. Leitch might have to say on the matter later today.)

Who can blame them? If Jeff Weaver had something on his hand last night, and the Tigers lost, I'd probably be writing about it right now, too. I'd like to think I'd let it go if Weaver pitched even better after washing his hands, but who knows?

But if Rogers ends up pitching Game 6 of this series back at Comerica Park, I'll bet he receives some much closer scrutiny, whether it's from the umpires, the FOX television cameras, or the Cardinals' dugout. Hey, if the series is on the line, that rule book could suddenly become quite a handy weapon.

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6 Comments:

  • At October 23, 2006 12:19 PM, Blogger The Armchair Quarterback said…

    Concerning the smudge---This is a ridiculous story being pushed by the media to spice up the series. I love that the Tigers are in it but when the World Series struggles to be front page material they have to milk every angle they can.

     
  • At October 23, 2006 12:35 PM, Anonymous R.P. said…

    It was pomade!

     
  • At October 23, 2006 12:58 PM, Blogger Chip Wesley said…

    When the postseason started ESPN was downright brutal talking about how "bad" Rogers has been in the postseason. Then he goes out dumbfounds them by dismantling the Twins and the A's. Now this poo-stain on his hand is brought to their attention and they're questioning whether he cheated in past games? No way.

    Both teams have let it go, and the media probably should too. The series is 1-1 and has the makings of being one that could go down to a final game. Obviously Cards fans won't be so likely to drop it. They now have their "Pierzynski to first base" or "Jeffrey Maier" incident to dwell on.

    As a Cubs fan and a Cardinals hater, I'm pulling for Detroit all the way. A great team, who's fans have deserved much better these past two decades.

     
  • At October 23, 2006 11:23 PM, Anonymous Evan said…

    This thing is stupid.

    (1) Either he cheated for one inning and then let loose a clean and masterful performance or he never cheated. Either way, are we seriously going to quibble about this?

    (2) Pine tar in baseball is like doping in cycling or track, except 100 times less egregious. No one seems to care that both those sports have 90% of its atheltes juiced beyond belief, and people were willing to forgive Barry Bonds for what is OBVIOUSLY years of steroids use and seriously count his home run streak toward Aaron as though it's legit... but a little pine tar, and Rogers is a cheat worthy of not one, not two, but THREE espn.com homepage articles?!?!?

    (3) Let's see what Wikipedia has to say on pine tar: "On June 14, 2005, against the Washington Nationals, pitcher Brendan Donnelly of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had his own pine-tar incident. Replacing starter Ervin Santana in the seventh inning, Donnelly warmed up and was ready to throw his first pitch when Nationals skipper, Frank Robinson asked the umpires to check his glove. They discovered a "significant amount" of pine tar on the heel of it and ejected him from the game for violation of Rule 8.02(b) regarding foreign substances on gloves. Furious, Angels manager Mike Scioscia yelled at Robinson, saying he would "undress" the Nationals pitchers as well. This caused Robinson to storm out to the field and the two managers barked in each other's faces as the dugouts emptied, though no punches were thrown. Donnelly admitted to having the pine tar in his glove but said he didn't consider it cheating. Some pitchers, such as Mark Buehrle and Todd Jones, claimed it is a common--if not well-kept--secret among pitchers."

    Common? No shit.

    If he'd gotten busted in the 8th inning of a close game 7, that's one thing. But removing a smudge that the umpires are claiming wasn't even anything to worry about in the first inning of a game he went on to dominate is hardly cause for all this talk.

    In some ways, I'm upset at myself for even contributing to the conversation.

     
  • At October 24, 2006 6:48 PM, Anonymous Hoyt said…

    Yeah, I think Rogers had something on his hand. But the Cardinals and LaRussa let it go, and so should the media. Play ball!

     
  • At October 25, 2006 10:47 AM, Anonymous Evan said…

    By the way, I'd like to acknowledge that LaRussa did the classy thing and is a top notch guy.

     

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