Monday, October 23, 2006

Last Thought on Kenny Rogers

Here's what I'm struck by: If, in fact, Kenny Rogers was cheating by using some illegal substance on his hand in the 1st inning, then you also have to be willing to accept a virtual conspiracy of cheating.

If you are willing to question Rogers' integrity, you must necessarily also question the integrity of:

Tony LaRussa: Who neither pushed the issue at the time nor after the game.

(The fact that people are bringing up LaRussa's friendship with Leyland as the only logical explanation he might go soft in a World Series game instead of asking umps to check Rogers would, if Rogers WAS cheating, qualify LaRussa as a far more devious and devastating corrupter of the game of baseball than Rogers himself. It's bad enough that at the time, LaRussa didn't even QUESTION the APPEARANCE of a problem, which would have -- at the very least -- perhaps gotten into Rogers' head in a perfectly fair piece of gamesmanship.)

The umps: Who didn't push the issue (beyond reportedly -- or not -- asking Rogers to clean off his hand), and who would have had to willfully ignore or avoid their moral responsibility to do just that, whether asked by the Cards to do it or not.

Jim Leyland: Who would HAVE to have known about it, particularly if it happened over multiple games. Again, if he willfully participated – even by looking the other way – it is as if he himself was cheating.

Rogers' Tigers teammates: For willfully going along with it. They couldn't NOT have known, particularly team "leader" Ivan Rodriguez.

Rogers' Cards opponents: For not being more vocal about it, either at the time or after the game. You'd think that if they were at a disadvantage because of cheating, they'd speak up a little more fervently.

(It seems like the only people pushing the issue are analysts in the media, who are the LEAST likely to actually know what happened.)

What does this analysis indicate to me? That Rogers WASN'T cheating, that he COULDN'T have been cheating -- because the 360-degree conspiracy of culpability SURROUNDING him would be so staggering.

On the other hand, there are FAR smarter thinkers than me -- or most people you'll find in mainstream media: Like Baseball Prospectus' Nate Silver, who has the most reasonable analysis to argue that cheating MIGHT be happening. And, naturally, he takes the time to actually use some numbers to back up his analysis, rather than the qualitative b.s. you'll see from me and every other "columnist" out there. Here's the must-read link.

-- D.S.

37 comments:

SouthHavenSal said...

The best moniker for this event that I've heard....

"Palm Sunday"

If you don't get caught is it still cheating?

Albert Leshchinsky said...

Out of all the media creations that have been going on this year, and there have been plenty, see TO, This has to be the most rediculous. We have the arguably the best Defensive NFL player actualyl testing postive for steroids, and when I look at the front page of ESPN I see this whole controversy over some guy having brown stuff on his hand for 1 inning. Give me a break, does anyone really give a crap about this? anyone? How does the NFL continue to get so lucky that something as stupid as this takes priority over their best player on Defensive Side of the ball being caught for steroids?

Geoff-Detroit said...

Not to mention Shawn Rogers was also suspended for an illegal substance for 4 games. The NFL has done pretty well at hiding any sort of steroid use for a while. But once this cat is out of the bag, OUCH.

But yeah, brown stuff on the hand is just a huge story. Not that it doesn't deserve to be commented on. But if MLB and the Cardinals aren't making a big deal out of it than the national media should probably just let it go.

jhawkjjm said...

I'd agree that this is overblown, but at least I can understand some of the reasoning behind it. This is the World Series we're talking about, the championship series of what is (used to be) America's pastime. Had this been the regular season it wouldn't be a big deal.

That is why this is getting more coverage than the Merriman story. Granted he's the reigning defensive rookie of the year, but he's still not a household name. I would bet that had the name been Manning, Brady, Vick, Urlacher, He Who I Will Never Name, etc than that would be the lead story. Now had Merriman been busted so he would miss the playoffs and/or SB... now you got the headline story.

ndyanksfan05 said...

Any one see the uni-watch article on espn? Pretty interesting stuff.

Rogers wears a BP style hat instead of a game day hat like the rest of his team. The main difference is the fabric and the bottom of the brim is dark instead of grey (easy to hide stuff on). Interesting. Does anyone have the first inning on Tivo who can watch how it appears he gets this crap on his hand? Does he go to his brim at one point, rub his leg, etc. That'd be a good starting point; just look at the replay.

Jeff said...

"Does anyone have the first inning on Tivo who can watch how it appears he gets this crap on his hand? Does he go to his brim at one point, rub his leg, etc. That'd be a good starting point; just look at the replay."

He didn't wash his hand of sly like on the field. He went into the dugout and cleaned his hand.

I think everyone is making a huge deal out of nothing. So lets say he was cheating. Lets say that indeed there was pine tar on his hand in the first inning. His first inning was probably his WORST inning. He gave up a walk and a hit, the only time the entire game a man was in scoring position while he was on the mound.

Just the media making a big deal out of nothing.

Jake C said...

It's possible he has a hand abrasion where dirt, etc., collects. I had a freeze burn that pulled part of my skin off leaving it ragged (can't think of a better word), and it gets the most dirty of any spot on my hand - especially when I play softball.

FreKy J said...

It's nothing more than the media trying to generate ratings.

Baseball infields are dirty, baseballs get dirty fast, rosin turns absolutely grimy if it gets wet.

Rub your hands on a baseball enough and you'll likely have a small puddle of goo on the edge of your palm, RIGHT WHERE YOU RUBBED.

Richard said...

Brown stuff was found on the hand of a guy that was playing on dirt.....STOP THE PRESSES!!!

Jizzy McPoo said...

I agree, if this is not a clear case of reporters trying to create news, rather than report on what actually happened, i have no idea what is.

did KR cheat; everyone who was on the field last night is saying "No," yet ESPN and Fox need to drum-up the ratings for a World Series played by two teams in "Fly-over Country," so they need to play this story out for as long as possible.

enjoy!

manninghamheisman said...

What restaurant was Arod at? That guy's da man!

Kyle said...

The worst part was McCarver creating the story in the first place. Now I'm sure it was actually some producer or video guy in the truck that noticed the brown spot, but McCarver was practically calling out the guys in the Cards clubhouse to have Tony check Rogers's hand. Maybe it's just me, but if the umps or Cardinals don't catch it on their own, the members of the media shouldn't be inserting themselves on the officiating crew.

Kid Keith said...

Wow, do you guys watch baseball? It is NOT dirt. When a ball touches the dirt they grab a new one because the batter can catch the spin pattern as it comes in when there is a big dirt spot on it. So the dirt theory is total crap. It was pine tar, but that is NOT a big deal. Plenty of hurlers do that in the cold to get feel. Not to mention he did better without it. It might be in his head because he is obviously a raging psycho and I think that is just fine as long as he doesn't go "camera man" on us... of course he could always toss around Joe Buck.

jen said...

Please let him toss Joe Buck! I can't watch a complete game because of him.

Doc Spender said...

Hey, Kenny was holding his hand up for the camera just BEGGING for it to be noticed... Buck even mentioned the fact that he was being completely obvious about it. Why? Rogers is nothing if not a savvy old veteran and what better way to get into Cardinal hitter's heads than have them THINK he might be up to something. Was it pine tar or just some smudged dirt designed to draw attention?
At any rate, he racked up enough shutout innings last night after the first to make this a moot point.
Much ado about nothing.

Troy (Gainesville, FL) said...

My favorite analysis so far comes from the Uni-Watch column. Fishy indeed...
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=lukas/061023

Hunt said...

Are those defending the Gambler Tigers fans? This is Kenny Rogers we're talking about. Of course he was cheating. He had the stuff on his hand in the other games too.

It's a big deal because it's the world series. And maybe he washed it off before some nice innings last night, but don't you think the A's and the Yanks might be interested in this development.

If a dumb as hell student suddenly aces a math test, people get suspicious. If an average pitcher and notorious playoff bomb turns into Sandy Koufax, people will get suspicious. The guy did it. Deny it if it makes you feel better.

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

If you read Uni Watch regularly, you'll find that UW documents many random choices of this sort. I don't want to go through the archives, but I feel like I remember another BP/non-BP cap story coming up before.

Lukas never suggested anything like this before, though.


For the record, Dan, I think this "Last Thought" post has really nailed the analysis, as well as possible for anyone who wasn't on that field.

If Tony LR could've gotten Kenny off the mound without disadvantaging his own pitchers later on, he certainly would've tried, right?

If the umpires thought Kenny was looking for an unacceptable edge, they would have done something about it, right?

I'm thinking this was a hush job on the part of everyone involved, probably because it's just been too nasty in MI to pitch right without help. Both of worldwideleader.com's pictures were taken on pretty chilly days.

Sounds like the whole press conference SNAFU results from a miscommunication on the part of Leyland or the umpire crew; Rogers thought the word was "It's just dirt, I just decided to wash it off," whereas the umpires and Leyland had agreed, "It's just dirt, we told him to wash it off."

So, like Dan said, pretty much everybody had to be in on this. Except Joe & Tim, who obviously knew way less than they thought they did (surprising zero people).

Oh, well. Kenny did alright after Sinkgate was taken care of, so I hope the sport can survive this.

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

hunt - your ad hominem attacks have no effect on the logic everyone else has displayed. Douchebag.

Nobody has come up with any pretty pictures from ALDS Game 3, although that game was a little nippy as well, so the cold weather reasoning still holds up. The Cards obviously didn't care too much, so I'm gonna extrapolate and guess that no, the Yanks and A's wouldn't be much more concerned.

Anyway, I don't see a lot of people loudly protesting that Kenny didn't have anything on his hand; sounds like everybody thinks Kenny had some dirt, or, probably, pine tar, on his hand, but everybody on the field was ok with that.

The idea that morons like you are hung up on, that Kenny Rogers is a bum in the postseason and can't pitch well in October, is idiotic. I'm more suspicious of Jeff Weaver succeeding in the postseason (by the way, what kind of Genius sends this guy out in Comerica Park? As a member of the razzing multitude, I do not think Jeff was having a good time out there.). Have you ever heard of a career 81-91 pitcher named Don Larsen?




Note: "Douchebag," as used in this comment, is an ad hominem attack, used here ironically to provide some levity to the very serious accusation I'm throwing at "hunt" - that he's an idiot.

GuyInTheCorner said...

LETS GET THIS STRAIGHT

IT WASN'T FRICKIN DIRT!!!

Dirt, as the MLB official noted, is not a foreign substance! But they asked him to WASH IT OFF??? You don't ask people to wash off LEGAL SUBSTANCES!!!

With all the pics from other starts and the same looking thing I don't know how anyone can think it's dirt.

La Russa refused to discuss it. Leyland and Rogers said that they told him to wash it off and that he noticed it himself and washed it off (COMPLETELY COMPLETELY STORIES).

and since when was this an umpires policy, I WON'T INSPECT IT, BUT GO WASH IT OFF??? IS THAT A JOKE???

here's what I think happend:
there was a foreign substance and everyone knew it, it was on tv, someone upstairs saw the broadcast and told La Russa, he didn't want to seem like an incompitent manager so he had to go to the ump because the whole country was looking at pics of it, knowing that in this weather pitchers have to use something to grip the ball and his own pitchers were doing something similar (just less obvious) he told the ump to tell Leyland to tell Rogers to wash his hand but he didn't request a search because Leyland would make sure that went both ways, Rogers then washed his hand, and then they all screwed up their stories.

clearly it wasn't dirt if you think otherwise you don't know enough about the situation

the thing is, cheating is a part of baseball. pitchers do so much to the ball and the umps know about it but unless someone gets really upset (or it gets picked up on national TV) they won't do anything about it

Rogers is having an incrible playoffs and this shouldn't discredit it. It should just make everyone aware of what's going on.

ndyanksfan05 said...

Whatever it was, it was on his hand because he wanted it there. A pitcher who is playing in the world series is going to be completely conscious of anything that is on his pitching hand, especially something that large. I don't know what it was, and I don't know that he was using it to cheat (as it was blaringly obvious that it was there and a crafty veteran would do a much better job of hiding such an indiscretion), but he must have known something was on his hand.

Keithsrk said...

Kenny Rogers cheated.

Kenny Rogers got caught.

Kenny Rogers did not get punished for the crime.

This is consistent with MLB's approach (Giambi, Bonds, etc.)

Why should we be surprised?

What is surprising is that LaRussa didn't push it. It doesn't make sense - unless he simply choked (given LaRussa's history, not unlikely).

Sorry Dan, the whole world doesn't need to be in on the cheating game - just Rogers. Rogers cheated, LaRussa choked.

ryan from falmouth ma said...

this guy had a career post-season ERA of 9.00
in these three games he has an ERA of 0.00 (in 23 innings)


he had pine-tar on his hand during these three games

if it smells like a rat

GuyInTheCorner said...

la russa didn't choke

he did what was best for himself

he didn't want to seem incompitent cause he knew it was on tv but he also knew if he had the gambler searched he'd have his own guys searched, which wasn't a good idea

so he had it washed off but not searched

although la russa is still an idiot

Hunt said...

John from Ann Arbor = Tiger fan.

Meaning, you don't really have any credibility here, bud.

But seems like you are ignoring facts. See what you want to believe. Whatever lets you sleep at night, loser.

And, it's not that Rogers has just been a bum in postseason (which is true), but the guy is suddenly throwing better than he ever has at the age of 41. Well, that and the pictures of pine tar on his hands in all three playoff starts.

But the truth is, we'll probably never know. But for you to insult anyone who is skeptical of the Gambler is pretty darn classy.

Note: "classy," as used in this comment, is a sarcastic comment, used here to provide some levity to the very serious accusation I'm throwing at "John" - that he's a scum bag.

marcomarco said...

If you are willing to question Rogers' integrity, you must necessarily also question the integrity of:

Tony LaRussa


Well, his track record is there. He never saw McGuire getting shot in the ass by Canseco either.

Protect the boys at all costs.

pathatts said...

OK, I think the theory where both pitchers were using it, and all pitchers use it in cold weather is credible. But regardless it is cheating, and as long as everyone is doing it people seem to think it is OK. This is also how the problem with steroids evolved to what it is today. Most of the players were doing it and everyone looked the other way. Baseball no longer has any credibility.

Dan, why did you leave ESPN?

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

hunt - what fact or likely truth is there that I didn't admit? That is, aside from this new fact you've just made up? (I still say, nobody has shown me any pictures of Kenny's hand during the ALDS. If you have seen them, point me to a URL.)

I'm not really upset by your criticism of my "credibility," given the facts that
a) I wasn't claiming to be stating any facts; I was expressing and summarizing opinions
and
2) In addition to submitting as evidence pictures which don't seem to exist, you also continue to flag Kenny's previous performance as proof that he is now cheating, even though he threw 7 scoreless innings after SubstanceGate had been worked out. The guy has matured, athletes change, past performance is no guarantee of future results. I submit Don Larsen once again in this facet of the discussion.
Kenny seems to have been using some substance to gain a slight edge or perhaps just level the playing field (as most reasonable people weighing in on this topic seem to agree). But even without it, he's obviously not a worthless bum in the offseason. You can't throw that stupid argument out there anymore and expect people to nod their heads and agree that Kenny Rogers should just head to the indoor driving ranges when September ends.

And referring to your idiotic, hackneyed vitriol as mere "skepticism" would be a disservice to your true trollishness.

Jeff said...

I don't think people understand exactly what pine tar is going to do. It's not going to turn a horrible pitcher into an amazing pitcher. Nor is it going to give them any benfit in anything but cold weather (where rosin really doesn't do much at all.)

I see a few ignorant people ranting about how Rogers is a cheat, and that he has been doing this all year thats why he is good. Learn a few things about baseball.

Actually WATCH him pitch... you guys are pretty rediculous.

Hunt said...

Ugh. Okay, Tigers fan. You win. Kenny Rogers is a great, stand-up citizen and a postseason God. Email Gene Wojciechowski for pictures of previous games. Then go run off and put words in my mouth and pretend to know anything about me. See ya, loser.

PS: If you find my comments on here vitriol, you must have a pretty easy life. Lighten up, Francis. You'll find the majority of the sports world agrees with me.

Jason (East Lansing) said...

Did anyone see Brandon Jacob's celebration? He went to the the small star in the edzone, stood on it, and I swear he started sexual thrusts. He fucking did a porn star celebration!!! Can anyone look back and verify this?

Travis said...

Well that Tony Romo experiment has been a bust

john (ann arbor, mi) said...

Well, here you go.

Tony says it happens, Tony obviously knew what the deal was (and by the way, anybody who doesn't think that shiny goo is foreign, get a new monitor. I was using my laptop all day, and now that I'm looking at my desktop monitor, I wouldn't want anyone to say that's not pine tar.), the umpires clearly knew what the deal was, but nobody seems to have thought that KR was looking for an unfair advantage.

I say this all doesn't exist without the Joe & Tim show; if everybody saw the game like somebody who's attending the game, believe me, nobody would have mentioned this in a radius any wider than those two dugouts.

And if the Cards and the umps aren't crying foul, why should anyone?

Eric said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eric said...

I've read all the articles and saw the game that everyone has been discussing in this forum, and here's the situation as I see it:

1) Two former managers admitted quite readily in the post game commentary that pitchers sneak pine tar into their game. I don't see any reason to not believe them, so let's assume this is so.
2) One stupid pitcher starts getting careless with it, and gets caught. On camera.
3) This requires some kind of reaction, especially when it's a baseball game and nothing exciting is likely to happen 90% of the time the announcers are talking. LaRussa, knowing a) that pine tar is basically just glorified rosin, b) it's not likely to greatly affect Rogers' game, and c) given point #1, he doesn't want to turn this series into a witch hunt against pitchers on both sides, he brings it to the attention of the umps in some non-damning way (like "there's some dirt on Rogers' hand--tell him to get rid of that crap after this inning")
4) correlation doesn't imply causation: just because Rogers was having a sub-par first inning, it doesn't mean that he wasn't using pine tar then or before (or after, for that matter). Remember: he's a major league pitcher, capable of both good and bad pitching for a bunch of reasons.
5) I don't like the Tigers or the Cardinals (Cubs fan--suck it)

Friz said...

This is the thing about Rogers: he's an all-or-nothing pitcher. He depends on good ball movement and getting the calls from umps; certainly more questionable than the pine tar were several generous strike calls during the game. Even so, Rogers doesn't have much of a middle ground - he's either really good or really bad, so it's perfectly reasonable to believe that his current hot stretch is due to a particular level of focus, or just having some friendly umpiring in his corner. I'm just not sure that pine tar is going to have a game-changing effect, or if anyone caught up in this furor really knows anything about it. So - can we enjoy the series now and shut up about this?

Joe (Livonia, MI) said...

I am a Tiger fan, which will immediately discredit anything I say, but isn't is true that Roaster throws pitches now he didn't throw in 1996 as a Yankee? Isn't he now in a much friendlier park to pitchers? Are not the Tigers, when good, typically better than the Yankees defensively? Could Kenny be a much smarter pitcher now than he was 10 years ago?

I'm not saying the guy isn't using pine tar on his hands. He probably is. But how worked up can I, or anyone, get about "cheating" if he is doing something allegedly everyone does. Isn't the act of cheating to gain an unfair advantage? Well if everyone uses pine tar (not my opinion, but the opinion of MLB players, coaches, and "experts"), then where's the unfair advantage? This right here explains why LaRussa didn't get Kenny tossed--he doesn't want Jim Leyland to turn around and get Carpenter or Suppan tossed.

And why exactly is Kenny Rogers' pitching performance any harder to believe than Jeff Weaver's or Anthony Reyes's? Reyes was a middle of the road rookie and Weaver was horrible most of the regular season. And they put together two consecutive solid starts.

And Hunt is probably a Cards fan.