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Here's the dirt (cont.)

Posted: Monday October 23, 2006 2:30AM; Updated: Friday October 27, 2006 10:40AM
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Kenny Rogers became the oldest starting pitcher to win a World Series game.
Kenny Rogers became the oldest starting pitcher to win a World Series game.
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Previously, Rogers has been accused by Indians coach Joel Skinner of scuffing baseballs. Rogers' credibility was hurt when he claimed home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez only talked to him about speeding things up when others said Marquez directed him to both speed up and wash off.

Whatever it was, it didn't seem to matter. Rogers pitched well with and without the discoloration. "The umpires acted proactively to remove any controversy and defuse the situation," Mike Port, who is in charge of umpires for MLB. "Beyond that, he got better after he cleaned himself off." Which is true. Once smudge-less, his line was practically spotless.

Leyland made pitch for Rogers

Rogers wasn't on Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski's original list of pitching targets because of his rep and his famous attack on the Texas cameraman last summer. But Leyland interceded after talking to Rogers' agent, Scott Boras, who convinced Leyland to suggest Tigers people confer with Tigers scout Dick Egan, who happened to be Rogers' first manager in the Rangers' organization.

Rogers has turned himself around in terms of postseason performance, but he still occasionally demonstrates knucklehead tendencies. He still refuses to answer questions from a reporter with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Weaver-GM feud

Dombrowski and Cardinals Game 2 starter Jeff Weaver have some history, too. Dombrowski was upset when an enraged Weaver publicly complained about a decision to wait four hours before calling for a rainout in 2002. "It's a joke. Everything's handled like a joke," Weaver, then a Tiger, told Danny Knobler of Michigan's Booth Newspapers at the time.

Weaver, who's pitched wonderfully this postseason (though not as wonderfully as Rogers), wasn't a Tiger too much longer after that.

Edmonds back to Angels?

Some folks believe former Angel Jim Edmonds, a Fullerton, Calif., native and free agent, would like to return to Anaheim. When he left, some teammates saw him as something of a hot dog. But he's still a pretty good center fielder.

Eckstein a keeper

One NL scout said it's an insult to David Eckstein to keep talking about what an overachiever he is. "He's not an overachiever,'' the scout said. "He's just a very good ballplayer."

Mets in retrospect

Willie Randolph took some hits for going for the gusto and employing a hobbled and cold Cliff Floyd when National League strategy would have dictated a bunt. However, Randolph was smart enough to avoid Albert Pujols for the most of the seven games. That's something Leyland has already failed to do once.

It's also almost universally acknowledged around baseball that Randolph had no choice but to employ someone other than Billy Wagner in the key ninth inning, and that Aaron Heilman was one of the best two candidates (though Randolph had shown more faith in Guillermo Mota previously) to deal with the righty-swinging bottom of the Cardinals order. Wagner just wasn't the same guy in that series.

But several folks are still questioning the call to employ Floyd rather than summon Chris Woodward or even Tom Glavine to bunt. Randolph went with the American League, Moneyball strategy there, and he played his gut. Perhaps the bunt would have been a better percentage play at home.

Randolph is likely to get a three-year extension. And why not? He easily outmanaged Joe Torre.

More Mets musings

The Mets should consider trading Heilman, who is much more highly valued by other teams. The A's are one that believe Heilman can start, and there are others. ... Don't be surprised to see the Mets shop Lastings Milledge this winter. "He's our chip," one Mets official said. ... One player they're bound to pursue is Moises Alou, whom they liked more than Shawn Green.

Labor peaceniks

A new labor agreement was reached, according to The Associated Press, and congrats to Bud Selig, Ron Manfred, Bob DuPuy, Don Fehr, Gene Orza and Michael Weiner for avoiding a work stoppage yet again. The industry is as healthy as ever, so it would have been foolish to drag this out. Baseball people say they expect an announcement after the World Series moves to St. Louis.

Around the majors

Some folks think Joe Girardi won't necessarily take any managing job. It's believed he could have the Nationals' job, but it's uncertain whether he'll take it. Girardi may also take a year away to work as a broadcaster. ... The Marlins apparently haven't decided whether they'll consider trading Dontrelle Willis, but if they do, they'll seek a center fielder plus more. ... The most recent word is that Vernon Wells is available if anyone would like to back up the truck. ... The Cubs and Orioles may try for Carlos Lee, but some believe his name is already on an Astros contract. ... Alan Trammell, a Tigers great and the manager who preceded Leyland, is a candidate for the Cubs and Rockies coaching staffs.

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