Let me first say that I don’t think Kenny Rogers’ pine tar on the hand was the key to his pitching. The Cardinals clearly couldn’t hit the man either way. The Cardinals had one hit on Rogers with the substance on the hand, and one the next seven. Rogers was rolling regardless.
But, uh, I have to think that it was pine tar on his hand and not a clump of dirt, as he happens to claim. I mean, there’s the picture, linked from Espn.com. Oh, and that shot on the left? From the ALCS against the A’s, not two shots from last night. So this was not a clump of dirt, as Kenny claimed after the game. But, the Tigers just couldn’t get their story straight…
- The umpires after the game came out and said they observed Rogers’ hand and told him to wash it off.
- Rogers said it was a clump of dirt and he was not told by any damn ump that he had to wash his hands
- Jim Leyland was fairly confused and gave two stories. One that the ump did tell Rogers to clean the hands and the other that they did not
- Baseball has a rule against using a foreign subject on the hand in a way to affect the baseball.
It was not a clump of dirt on Rogers’ hands because it was there in the Oakland series. Rogers this time just used more of the pine tar and it was more noticeable as something he was doing wrong. ESPN went back into the game tapes from the A’s Series and Yankees series and provided the photo above from the A’s series. They also said, ” On Sunday night, an ESPN video analysis of Rogers’ left hand during his previous starts during the ’06 playoffs appears to show a similar substance. If it was dirt, no problem. The MLB rule book has nothing against dirt.”
For starters, the umpires don’t ask him to wash dirt off. Second off, they don’t then mix their stories. The umps said they told him about the dirt…Kenny says that he and the home plate ump just talked about the time between innings. Right.
Todd Jones said it could have been “anything”. It could have been “chocolate cake.” Look, I’m all for sticking up for your teammates, but, uh, it wasn’t chocolate cake. Twice, maybe three times. Nor was it dirt in both of those pictures.
Maybe Rogers wasn’t trying to cheat at all. Maybe Rogers used pine tar before the games before the cold. But, it was not dirt. Not twice. Plus, it really…really looks like it is pine tar. This lying about it and trying to cover things up, well, it just makes Kenny look guilty. I watched the first inning, noticed the pine tar and only casually cared about it the rest of the way. Rogers was pitching great without the pine tar, as I said earlier.
The Tigers and Rogers compounded it after the game. In an espn.com poll, of 39,000 at the time I’m writing this, 37% do not believe Rogers was trying to gain an advantage with the mysterious substance. At the very least, that means that there are other reasons out there aside from this dirt debacle. The Tigers half assed their cover up and that has made this situation much worse than it would have otherwise been.
The Umpires botched the situation by not checking his hand enough and if they simply told Rogers to just wash the substance off without looking directly at it? Well, that’s pretty bad. I guess they assumed FOX wasn’t so quick with this whole spot the pine tar thing. The umpires might not have realized that Joe Buck was doing the game and of course he was going to make a big deal about this.
On Buck’s behalf, he wasn’t as crazy as I thought he was going to be about the whole ordeal…but there’s at least three more games left to be played and hopefully another Rogers appearance down the line. So, in other words, most people are now saying that Rogers at least attempted to cheat, but, uh, by the time Joe Buck gets done saying his piece, most people are going to have a ton of sympathy for Rogers.