October 23, 2006

Dirtgate

OK, so Kenny Rogers had "something" that looked suspiciously like pine tar on his hand in the first inning last night. This has become a story because no two people with actual knowledge of the situation have given the same answer. This includes Rogers, the umpires, and both managers. Nobody knows anything, or at least isn't saying.

I'm tempted to think this is a non-story, because if it were anything real, he would have been ejected and facing a suspension from the commissioner's office. However, none of that appears to be the case, plus, he pitched better after washing his hand, and it didn't look to me like his balls were doing anything extraordinary. He was hitting his spots, nibbling the corners, and staying away from the center of the plate just like he has been all postseason. Would The Gambler cheat? Heck if I know; I'm just saying it seems unlikely that he's started now.

There are, of course, conspiracy theories. Perhaps he only starts at home in the playoffs because he's cheating in a way he can't on the road. Doubt it. The one I thought of is that Commissioner Bud doesn't want to sully the game with a cheating accusation, so he's pushed it under the rug, told the the umpires not to make a big deal, and made Gambler wash his hands while being put on double secret probation. Again, it seems unlikely. The Tigers will win because they have the better team, not because of some gunk on a 41 year old pitcher's hand. If I was anybody, I'd be more concerned about him carrying on like a mental patient while he's out there.

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