An old dog teaching himself a new trick

Kenny Rogers was pitching a mighty fine game on Friday when he decided he needed a little something different. So he “invented” a cutter during the game.

“It keeps guys a little honest,” said Rogers, who ran into trouble in the eighth, allowing a walk, a hit-batsman, and a two-run double to Jose Lopez . “I just didn’t use it in the eighth. “But it’s a pitch I can throw inside to righties. It makes the plate that much wider.”

I find this pretty remarkable on a couple fronts. First that he tries out a new pitch in a game and is able to command it and be successful with it. Second, and more surprising, is that he hasn’t tried it out in the past. For a guy that hasn’t been relying on “stuff” for quite some time and has been looking for every edge he can get (insert pine tar joke here) I can’t believe he wouldn’t already have it in the arsenal if he could command it.

5 Comments

  1. Vince in MN

    July 6, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    The question is what did he cut it with – sandpaper, fingernail clipper, or one of those things you clean your cleats with?

  2. Coleman

    July 7, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Yes, Crafty Kenny…you know, there were rumors about him doing something to the baseball before the World Series, I think it was the Yankees were murmuring that he had something in his cap…and strangely enough, Kenny was wearing his regular cap in the playoff and WS, not the regulation special logo cap (this would never have flown in the NFL)…so he shows up to pitch with an obvious dark mark on his thumb. OK, what truly “crafty” pitcher would do that? Can you picture Gaylord Perry showing up in a WS that way? Especially now with about 75 cameras on him? And go back and look at the game, and you’ll see him going to his cap with his right hand a lot (even while the announcers are all discussing his left thumb). Which is not to say there was something in his cap either; craftiness has many levels. So I say, leaning toward Crafty.
    (And bonus crafty points if he knew there’s no way La Russa has him examined, because there’s no way La Russa wants Jeff Weaver examined. Which Leyland should call for if he pitches in the Cleveland series, by the way).

    Also (and Gaylord Perry will back me up on this one), there are a lot of things you can do to a baseball, but few of them are as effective as what you can do with a batter’s mind.

    What I’m saying is that Kenny may have bought himself a few extra strikes if just a couple of batters go up worrying about getting the “new cutter” from him….

  3. Eric Cioe

    July 7, 2008 at 2:26 am

    There’s a video from Spring Training this year where Rogers, Bondo, Nate, and Chuck are all sitting around discussing pitching. They start talking about Bondo & Nate’s over reliance on their sliders, which Rogers says “messes up your extension,” though not as bad as a cutter, which he saw as “horrible for your extension.” Funny that he’s throwing one (or is he?) now.

  4. judpma

    July 7, 2008 at 3:15 am

    Kenny has everything there ever was and has used it all at sometime or another….when he says he “invented it” he simply means he pulled it out of his over flowing bag of tricks. He ain’t done yet!

  5. Dave BW

    July 7, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Great post, Coleman. I was saying the same thing, essentially, when the pine tar controversy occurred.

    In other words, your post was great because it concurred with my preexisting opinion :)