There’s really no getting around the Kenny Rogers and the yellow thumb of crud. I was hoping this would go away as a non-story, especially with all of the principles involved saying it is a non-story. Despite that, everybody and their brother has become an expert on pine tar and it’s physical properties and they can spot it instantly. We’ve also all become very well versed on section 8.02 of the rule book.
Here’s what I think and don’t think about the situation:
- Yes, the media is making a big deal out of this. This is what the media does. I don’t think there is any sort of McCarver-pro-Cardinals conspiracy going on. It was actually one of the more astute observations made by McCarver. It was definitely something worth noting and pointing out. McCarver also mentioned it was common for pitchers to do this in cold weather.
- I think the sequence of events is critical to understanding the situation – or for at least assigning blame. Fox did their best to make this confusing and I haven’t really seen it clarified. If in fact Kenny Rogers finished the first inning, and then somebody told each bench what was happening, Rogers could very well have gone down and washed off the stuff all on his own. This is probably the same time that Steve Palermo notified the umpiring crew of what was going on. If Rogers comes out for the 2nd with a clean hand, what could La Russa or the umpires do at that point? There was nothing to find.
It doesn’t change the fact that Rogers pitched with stuff on his hand in the 1st inning, but if he was in fact cheating he’d gotten away with it – at least in baseball terms.
- If in fact La Russa could have made something about it but didn’t, I’m willing to bet it has nothing to do with his relationship with Leyland. That doesn’t even seem like a realistic possibility. I’d be more inclined to believe it had to do with La Russa understanding the context, and that this appears to be a pretty common practice.
- If you’re in the camp of “how do you explain how a guy who was awful in the postseason can suddenly be dominating?” I’d just respond with sample size. Rogers was bad in the playoffs – 7 & 10 years ago – in a small sample size. Maybe he’s learned a thing or two, or maybe he’s cheating. I just don’t think that argument is very damning.
- Don’t look for any suspensions. It has passed. If they had caught Rogers, and by “they” I mean the umpires, he should have been ejected and suspended. That window closed when Rogers washed his hand.
- This is really a different subject but Fox is impacting on field game play. It happened when the start time of Game 3 of the ALCS was moved up to accomodate the New York Mets game. It happened again last night when it prompted Steve Palermo to talk to the umpires during a game. Where should the line be drawn.
- Finally, I understand being pissed off if your a Cardinals fan. But I’m not sure what emailing me will hope to accomplish. I don’t want to paint Cardinals fans with a broad brush, and I know this isn’t indicative of the majority. But if you are a Cardinals fan, and you’re thinking of sending me something like:
Hey Pine Tar, or I mean Detroit,
Did you ever try cheat yourself to a world series victory. Your baseball team
sucks and so does your filthy city. I guess you need to do whatever it takes
to try and make the big time. Fat chance that will ever happen. Do the good
guys a favor, quit wasting our time trying to cheat and get the f&%# out of
you can probably just keep it to yourself. I’ve gotten several of this ilk today. My only question for these people is, “is this just your internet personality or are you actually an idiot?” And in a similar vein, please no more butt-wiping jokes.
Finally, there were some actual articles of interest related to this saga. Via Baseball Musings, Uniwatch details that Kenny Rogers wears the batting practice hat instead of the standard issue 5950 during games. It’s a different material and the underside of the brim is black as opposed to gray.
Also, Nate Silver took a look at Rogers home and road splits to see if Rogers is cheating at home and not ont he road. The stats don’t clear him, nor do they convict him.
Finally, someone having some fun with the situation.