Monday, October 23, 2006

In St. Louis and on ESPN, the Gambler has become Public Enemy #1

But unfortunately, now we'll always be left to wonder what Kenny Rogers had on his hand. And here, in what's supposed to be the best of times in his sport, that's what stinks the most about this unsavory World Series evening.

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.

That's the Worldwide Leader's holier than thou Jayson Stark, who would have you think that the Gamber is an evil genius combination of Ty Cobb, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Adolph Hitler, and Snidely Whiplash.

He conveniently makes the 7 shoutout innings Rogers pitched after the so-called substance was washed off his hand a total afterthought. Dismisses the fact that the 1st innning, with the magic pine tar making the ball do unimaginable things, was the inning which he had the most trouble with the Cardinal hitters. Stark doesn't bother to mention that Rogers has been a very good pitcher for the majority of his career, and was damn good, the Tigers most consistently good pitcher, all season. I guess the Gambler only won over 200 big league games due to the magic of pine tar. Please.

Dan Shanoff, who has become much more opinionated and entertaining since being unleashed from the mediocre shackes of the Worldwide Leader, has the best take on the whole non-story that is "Dirtgate."

Or is the REAL dirt simply the sensationalistic suspicions being thrown around by analysts and fans?

Who cares? It was gone by the 2nd, and Rogers only went on to pitch 7 more scoreless innings to go with the 1st, giving him 23 scoreless innings pitched in a row in the playoffs, which is insane.

(Hell, I think it would be even cooler if he DID use some help; nothing says "crafty veteran pitcher" like being able to use an illegal substance to take 10 years off his mileage.)

If this were Gaylord Perry, the MSM would probably be celebrating this, calling him "Crafty," as Shanoff mentioned. But since it's Kenny Rogers, who has made more than a few enemies in the media over the years, they are having a field day roasting the Gambler with circumstancial evidence.

Thing is, if the Gambler was loading up the ball, wouldn't you think that he would be a little more careful as to where he had his magic pine tar? Why would it be out in the open? Wouldn't it be better served to stash it under the bill of his cap? Hidden in his glove? Someplace a tad more inconspicous than the PALM of his pitching hand? And for that matter, where's the smoking gun? The loaded up baseballs? Why wasn't he ejected? If Rogers is that stupid, he wouldn't have lasted long in MLB. If anything, it played with the minds of the Cardinals, and the MSM, more than anything else.

I was watching the postgame, and Fox Sports Detroit's Rod Allen was the first I heard say that FOX and McCarver had to be tipped off as to something being on Rogers hand. Why else would the FOX broadcast be specifically looking for it, and bring this up in the 1st inning? Allen also said that this was commonplace throughout MLB when the weather is cold. Which may be why the super genius LaRussa didn't raise much of a stink. His guys probably do the same thing.

The MSM would have you believe that Rogers was incapable of performing so well in the playoffs due to his past history, and the pine tar is the reason he has been so good. All I have to say about his previous playoff failures is this... Hasn't the media ever heard the term "Small sample size?" Maybe he's just pitching awfully damn well?

So was the substance on his hand pine tar? Probably. Did it make ANY difference in the result of the game? None whatsoever.

And what if the Gambler actually was bending the rules? All I can say is that I'm glad he's doing it for the Tigers...


  1. Whether or not he actually benefitted from the substance on his hand and/or his "wherever he moved it to after the first inning", is not the point. Sure, he's good without it. Barry Bonds was/is a great hitter without any substance as well. But, if he used something that's illegal according to the rules, that's all that matters - not the degree to which it did or did not help him contain the Cards bats.

  2. Those of us at the frozen tundra of Comerica Park missed all the excitement last night. We saw LaRussa come out between the first and second and were like "WTF?" I was listening to the post-game show on AM 1270 and Caputo never even brought it up once, nor did any of the callers. I assume they were taking Rogers (and the MLB umpires) at their word that it was nothing. Given the way he pitched in innings 2-8 you have to assume whatever it was wasn't responsible for his success.

  3. Good win last night. I sure wish Kenny Rogers discovered his magic gunk while he was on the Mets.

    On another note: How are you guys enjoying watching the World Series being broadcast by a couple of Cardinals homers? Buck and McCarver irritated the living hell out of me during the NLCS!

  4. If Rogers pitches again this series, what's the over/under on the number of times FOX shows closeups of Rogers clean hand? I'm going with 250.

  5. Doc, Buck and McCarver are an assault to the ears, and one's sanity.

    Conspiracy theories abound in the D, most in regard to McCarver having a mole with the Cards feeding him info. Something was going on there... I'll say this, the GF despises the, as she likes to call them, DORKS!

    I have to admit that there feels like a bias. For example, they seemed more impressed with the average, at best, performance of Weaver than anything the Tigers did.

    Chip, give me the over...

    Brian, you were lucky, if a little cold. You weren't pummeled over the head with all the FOX created controversy.

    B-Matt, you make a good point. But if the umpires didn't have an issue, you have to take their word for it. Then again, they could be covering their asses, and knowing MLB, that's always a possibility. If I was a Cards fan, my issue would be with TLR, wondering why he wasn't going apeshit over the whole imbroglio.