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10/23/2006 04:44:00 PM

Catch him if you can

Is Kenny Rogers a latter-day Gaylord Perry?
Is Kenny Rogers a latter-day Gaylord Perry?
Herb Scharfman/SI
"All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."
-- Lady Macbeth

I figured that quote was appropriate since the discovery of a smudge on Kenny Rogers' pitching hand in Game 2 is being treated as a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions. Somehow, The Smudge -- as it may forever be known in the annals of postseason controversies -- overshadowed another brilliant outing by Rogers. At least that's what many of the headlines around the nation are saying today. But I don't buy it.

Even if that was pine tar or turpentine or chocolate icing on his hand, I don't see how it had an impact on the outcome of the game. After the first inning, he was warned by his teammates to wipe his hand clean. After that point, his stuff got better, not worse. I reviewed the video to see if he shied away from any of his pitches after the first inning, to see if maybe the substance was helping him grip his curveball more or spot his fastball better, but his approach remained the same -- cut fastball on the corner, sinking fastball on the black (to righties) and the looping curveball that induces soft contact.

Nobody can point to The Smudge and take anything away from his performance. Besides, even if he was cheating -- and skeptics can say that he merely moved the substance elsewhere, like the bill of his cap -- this is baseball, not golf. The culture of baseball is different than perhaps any other sport in that it tolerates -- if not embraces -- getting any kind of edge that you can. The runner on second is always going to try to steal a sign from the catcher, and the third-base coach's signs are fair game for those who can decipher them. The burden is on the umpires and the opposing team to catch the offender; in golf, the onus is on the individual to abide by the honor system. I'm not saying that cheating on your taxes or on your SATs or in anything else that happens in everyday life is right. I'm just saying that's the way it is in baseball from time immemorial -- you cheat until you get caught. And if you don't get caught, then you get a congratulations for getting away with it. I don't see the Giants offering to give back the Dodgers the 1951 pennant anytime soon, do you?

If anything, I'm impressed that Rogers has been getting away with doctoring the ball for this long. This series of photos clearly shows he has smudged before, in the ALCS against Oakland and even going back to a July start against the White Sox. It's amazing that nobody cared to notice this until the FOX cameraman focused in on it Sunday. If he really has been getting over this whole time, then you just have to tip your cap to him and try to catch him in the act the next time around. (SI.com's Jon Heyman spoke to a bullpen coach who has a good theory on what Rogers was doing.)

This isn't the first time in recent years that this facet of the game has come to conflict with our society's newfound and complete intolerance for cheaters and liars of any sort. (Maybe this is all fallout from the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Who knows?) I was stunned at how much the corked bat incident damaged Sammy Sosa's image; allegations of something else ruined whatever was left. Speaking of which, has Rafael Palmeiro even come out of his bunker yet? Palmeiro's biggest sin wasn't taking the stuff, it was lying to us about it. In that sense, I was disappointed with Rogers' explanation after the game ("It was a big clump of dirt"), which strained any sense of credulity and bordered on the same sin Palmeiro committed -- underestimating our collective intelligence. But we need to separate any judgments on Rogers' character with his on-field performance.

What Rogers needs to do is play up this controversy. He needs to come out in Game 6 with unexplained smudges all over his uniform and a filthy cap that he keeps rubbing between pitches. Gaylord Perry is in the Hall of Fame partly because of antics like this; even when he wasn't cheating, he knew any psychological edge he could get on a hitter was important.
posted by JL | View comments |  


LA RUSSA YOU ARE A BUM, you should be fired, did anyone else hear his presser today?..SOMEONE PLEASE CALL OUT LARUSSA and knock him off his horse, he openly admitted he didnt think it was dirt last night, but didnt challanege it because A) its not the way he wants to win and B) it wasn't enough cheating, does that even make sense? he said if it was a corked bat thats different, hey moron how?...YOU ARE A BUM WAY TO COST YOUR CARDS ANOTHER WORLD SERIES YOU LOSER!!!!...Retire already, your the most overhyped manager ever, you dont get along with players along with many other things...Scott Rolen isnt a problem and he wont talk to you, get lost you LOSER
Posted: 5:36 PM, October 23, 2006   by Former Card Fan
I used to really like St. Louis, but after the last three or four blogs, I'm beginning to wonder if there are any card fans out there who are not certifiable, raging, foaming-at-the-mouth idiots. Good grief. Get a grip.

Go Tigers!
Posted: 5:54 PM, October 23, 2006   by Bruce Parsons
NEWS FLASH -- it wasn't pine tar after all! It was some tripod grease he picked up from one of the cameras he trashed while slugging cameramen on the way to the mound.

He's a great pitcher, but what a jerk in real life! He's baseball's equivalent of T.O.
Posted: 6:12 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Wow, a little much hate here. I am a cards fan, and not really a lunatic. The reason that nothing much was made of this is that like Heyman said in his column, lots of pitchers cheat. Other cards fans, remember Steve Kline a few years back? He was made to change his hat because of all the "dirt" (read:pine tar) on the brim. Tony had to do something because it was on TV, and so blatantly obvious it was painful. The real scandal should be how Kenny Rogers made it 42 and didn't learn how to cheat any better.
Posted: 6:13 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
I hate it when sportswriters don't understand the difference between using all available information and blatant cheating. Standing on second base and looking in at a sign is not cheating; if the pitcher and catcher don't conceal their signs well, that is their problem. Bringing a foreign substance onto the field to affect pitch rotation, corking a bat, taking steroids, those are not "ha-ha funny" things, that is blatant cheating. This is not what baseball was built on and should not be tolerated.
Posted: 6:15 PM, October 23, 2006   by matt p
I'm a Cards fan and I'm nothing like that first poster! I do kinda question why LaRussa wouldn't challenge it - but i'm also not going to go on a all-caps tirade like silvag. Hopefully my Cards will win the Series despite this. GO CARDS!!
Come on St. Louis fans....get a grip on the fact you are in the World Series. Quit looking for any little excuse and start concentrating on the real issue, which is Detroit's pitching.
Rogers is no different than any other major league pitcher. They all use something(tar, lotion, cream)and the only reason this was even noticed is that this is the World Series. If you don't watch out, it will be game 5 and you'll be down 3-1. Detroit is a streaky team and they can bury you quick. Concentrate on them, not a manufactured controversy that means nothing.
'Come on St. Louis fans....get a grip on the fact you are in the World Series. Quit looking for any little excuse and start concentrating on the real issue, which is Detroit's pitching.'

Agreed. I am a huge cardinals fan, and i saw them get beat by a quality performance from a LEFT hander. Its proven that the cards aren't even mediocre when facing a lefty. 'The Smudge' is pretty much putting a cloud on whomever comes out of this series a winner. What I saw from last night, in the 9th, is what the Cards are capable of. Expect more of what you saw in game 1 and in the 9th of game 2 on Tuesday.

I can't help but think, if this series does get to a game six, that La Russa will indeed make a stink about Rogers. He will make a scene in the first inning and tell the umps to search KR. THAT to me would be more of a La Russa-inian move, to fray a pitcher in a must win situation, moments after he takes the mound. Screw his friendship with Leyland, if the shoe was on the other foot... you'd see the same thing.
What does it matter he pitched better after he washed I am a die-hard Stl. Cardinals fan I was born this . My father was signed by the Cardinals, I don't see where any difference in the outcome of the game was made by the smudge. If you want to complain why did a .216 hitter bat with the bases loaded and 2 outs in the ninth
Posted: 6:42 PM, October 23, 2006   by Doug
Have any of you Cards fans been listening to what people in the know have been saying?? Maybe Rogers did use pine tar or some other substance, but it is a common practice, utilized by pitchers everywhere in major league baseball. LaRussa didn't press the issue because he didn't want his OWN pitchers to be scrutinized! And besides, after the incident, and after removing the substance, he went on to pitch a masterpiece of a game and won anyway. So you Cards fans that think you are holier than thou better realize that more than likely your own pitchers are doing the same thing, and stop whining! And by the way, the first post here by silvag shows that he\she knows nothing about the game, and should be stripped of all rooting rights, your team doesn't need that stuff right now....they need your support, you loser.
Posted: 6:45 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
whatever it is, quid pro quo, fear, stupidity, etc. rogers pitched a gem of a game. and he keeps doing it. its up to larussa to say something. if he doesnt, thats his (and his team's and their fans') problem. thou shalt not steal really means thou shalt not get caught (or in this case taken to task). enjoy the ride tiger fans.
Posted: 6:46 PM, October 23, 2006   by andy g
What if you are the coach of a little league team and you catch one of your kids pulling a Rogers, would you let it go? Would you encourage him to get any advantage that he can? It just seems to me like getting a Rogers tossed out of a game for blatant cheating would do more for the sport than justifying his actions by saying "everyone does it."
Cardinals fans aren't the only ones upset over this. I don't support either team but after watching the game on Sunday it was evident Rogers had a foreign substance on his hand. What is amazing is that Tigers fans are so offended by the mere suggestion - they are in denial!

If the MLB wants to set things right they will suspend Rogers for the rest of the WS. They can let him keep his gem of a game but shouldn't be allowed to pitch again this series.
Posted: 6:51 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
I'm a Cards fan for life and last I looked the Series was knotted 1-1 because we took it to the Tigers in Game 1. We figured to have trouble with Rogers which is why Game 1 was so large to win. Now we have our aces going at home. Rogers was terrific but you need more than one pitcher to win a Series. The Tigers were lucky Jones didn't blow the save. We were one bloop hit away from tying the game in the 9th. If we fail to sweep them at home and the Series goes back to Detroit, I'm guessing the Cards will deal with Kenny as we dealt with Glavine and Wells. He's tough but he ain't Superman.
Posted: 6:51 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Is that really the standard? Identifying a cheater is an "excuse" because everybody cheats? Now that it is clear that he was cheating, I think MLB must do something or forfeit what is left of the integrity of the game. That has nothing to do with the Cards, the Tigers, or any other particular team.
Posted: 6:54 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Children PLEASE...sure its suspicious but he wiped it off after the first inning AND THEY STILL COULDNT TOUCH HIM UNTIL THE EIGHTH...cards fans please your team is in the world series be happy but dont make excuses its not la russas fault they lost hes a good manager they simply. got. beat.

Posted: 6:57 PM, October 23, 2006   by Doug
OK, I went too far suggesting silvag was a loser, everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I apologize. But lighten up buddy, it is something that happens, and everyone in the league deals with it, it's part of the game.
Scott Rolen has a track record of not getting along with managers. That is why St. Louis has him in the first place. That and fear the Cubs would pick him up as a free agent in the off season. Rolen ran himself out of Philly and appears he could do the same thing in St. Louis. And for card fan...I used to live in central IL. All Cardinal fans are delusional. They are baseball's equivilent of Buckeye fans. The only thing more pathetic is the blind faith Cub fans have. I should know I happen to be one.
Posted: 7:08 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
everyone is missing the point. it does not matter if "everybody" does it. The point is that he was caught, "brown" handed, and he should have been punished according to the RULES as stated. Of course, since everyone does it, why punish him? We should just let the players do whatever they want, oh wait, that already is the case isn't it.
Posted: 7:09 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Has anybody noticed in the ten photos of Rogers that his mouth is open every time he throws a changeup?
Posted: 7:10 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
"If anything, I'm impressed that Rogers has been getting away with doctoring the ball for this long."

are you serious? impressed by how well someone cheated. you are a real man.
Posted: 7:14 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
How on earth did Anthony Reyes pitch so well in game one then? I mean, he must have been rubbing his hand in the hairspray on the perfectly feathered hair on the back of his head...if the pine tar is your excuse for losing, and makes you feel better, then go ahead and cry...
This whole argument is ridiculous. The Cardinals best inning against Kenny was when he had it on his hand...what's their excuse for innings 2-8?
Posted: 7:15 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Rogers is an idiot. Lucky for him that he pitches better than he cheats and lies.

And what would be wrong if they checked all the pitchers for using foreign substances? Wouldn't that just be a fair game?
Posted: 7:17 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Not condoning cheating on anything in 'real life'... Why not? People have been doing it forever, if you don't get caught, is it really cheating? Give me a break! This makes me sick. Why not make it legal if it's being done by everyone? Why not give everyone a can of shaving cream on the mound? Professional sports are becoming (has become?) a joke and writers like this guy are a big reason why.
Posted: 7:36 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
come on you cards fans give me a break, even after he washed it off he still had no runs scored on him, so stop making excuses to try to get us in trouble, and concentrate on the next game (mabe put your guys in the cages a bit)

lets go tigers
He cheated.

He should be suspended.


But since MLB is known as the place where cheating is tolerated, my guess is nothing will happen.

But it's nice to know why he's suddenly able to pitch so well, after being nothing but a postseason choker all his career.
Posted: 7:55 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
to anyone who isnt a cards fan.

its clear that cards fans argue with no rationality, wow the people paid to write about the sport picked the team that was UNQUESTIONABLY the best team in the national league to beat your beloved cards. so what. it made sense. but they were wrong. you didnt see every tigers fan in the world up in arms that absolutely NO ONE picked them to get out of the alds. you dont see them questioning the credibility of these writers simply because their team was slighted.

the fact of the matter is the world series is the detroit tigers vs. the st louis cardinals. end of story. nothing previous matters. but to cardinals fans that have been picked against again this is a crime. think of who youre playing. a team that swept you the only time you met during the season. a team that beat up on your cy young pitcher. it will be a good series but dont get your panties in a bunch simply cause NOT EVERYONE IS JUMPING ON YOUR BANDWAGON.

Tigers in 6. Kenny twirls another gem without anything on his hand(just like he did after the first inning last night)
Posted: 8:00 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
whoever said baseball wasn't built on cheating with foreign substances to doctor the ball is obviously does not know his baseball history. Pitchers have been doctoring balls since the beginning of time. If you didn't know the spitball wasn't outlawed until 1920 making it a legal pitch up until then.
Posted: 8:00 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
What Rogers did innings 2-8 is irrelevant. Rules are the rules. At worst, Larussa could just use that to distract Rogers. At best, he can get the Tigers's best pitcher thrown out. Some have surmised that Tony didn't press the issue because of his friend on the other side, Leyland and that the Cards's pitchers also do the same thing. Well, that's f'ed up... Tony, this is the World Series. Do what it takes to win it. and if your pitchers ARE employing the same type of practices as Rogers then shame on you(and them) too!
Everyone is missing one point here........he DID NOT get caught. They simply asked him what was on his hand , he lied , they told him to wash it off ,end of story. They believed him so he did not get caught . Did anyone check to see what was on his hand? NO. The ump didn't check his hand which means no one except you useless bloggers care. Every pitcher use the stuff and it has been common practice for years. Batters use steriods pitcher use pine tar.....at least one of those doesn't kill.
Posted: 8:09 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Cards fan here. Msr Rogers cheated, the Cards couldn't string together any hits. Big deal... we lost one after picking up the opener. It's not going to matter in the end and if we see a game 6 I'm sure the hype surrounding this will have him second guessing where to put the Vagisil for his follow-up performance. Next!
Posted: 8:13 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Rogers has played on like about half the teams in MLB. If he was a longtime cheater wouldn't one of his former teammates (current opponents) have turned him in? no why? Everybody does it and nobody wants to open that can of worms
Posted: 8:15 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Its a game. The traditions of a game are to be embraced. How does one not acknowledge the fact that without any appearance of a substance on his hand he frankly improved - after the first inning. Someone made the statement that none of the opposing picthers complained - there is the real point.

In Iraq now and amazed at what serves as sports emphasis...lets just play ball!
People read my comments carefully. Im not bothered by kenny using the substance, im bothered because LaRussa had a chance to get the tigers best pitcher tossed for the series and he chose not too. 25 years from now nobody will remember if Kenny used the stuff or not thats not the issue, the issue i have is LaRussa had a chance to rattle the tigers and he let that pass. Their ace gone for the series and it would be almost impossible for them to rebound. I dont like LaRussa to begin with and this is just one more reason to hate him. Again i understand what Rogers did isnt that big of a deal, but its a shame LaRussa chose not to take of advantage of a mistake by Rogers. In the world series its now how you win, its if you win, you all are backing Kenny for using the substance casue so many others do (even though its against the rules) so whats wrong with the Cardinals catching him for his own mistake and using it to their advantage?
Posted: 9:05 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Maybe LaRussa didn't say anything because he's afraid of giving his hitters an excuse. Who's to say that the next time the Cards face Rogers, they'll be so worried about what Rogers may or may not be doing to the ball, they'll have an even harder time hitting him?
Posted: 9:09 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
While the "substance" may have been taken off of Roger's hand after the first I have reason to belive that he was still cheating. During an at bat around the 6th inning one of the Cards fouled a pitch back to the screen. The ball bounced about half way back to home plate. When Pudge saw the ball he sprinted the ball and quickly got rid of it. If there was nothing wrong why would Pudge want to get rid of the ball before an umpire/ball boy could get to it?
Posted: 9:12 PM, October 23, 2006   by Former Card Fan
Silvag -- in other words, you want baseball to be like politics and everything else. Do you really think it would have proven anything to get a pitcher out on a technicality like that? I've got a better idea. With all the money that MLB teams have, why not just hire somebody to break a kneecap or two. That would get them out of the way. Or maybe we could do like the politicians and dig up some dirt or something and win without really going the way everyone else does.

I don't know what you have against Larussa. He's one of only two managers who managed to get to the World Series this year, and he took a bunch of discouraged and choking players and got them in shape to beat the odds. I honestly thought they might not even score a run against San Diego, much less win one.

Nobody in here really cares what you think of the manager of your beloved team anyway. The question here is what we think about Rogers clinton-esque spot. If you've got a problem with your manager, write a letter to the Saint Louis Whiner, or whatever paper you get. We don't care.
Posted: 9:14 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Since I am not an expert I can't say for certain what Rogers was doing, but it certainly did look like he had pine tar on his hand. I also know that many pitchers probably use something and most all of the hitters know it.

I am somewhat surprised because when I played ball as a teenager, I was not very good and certainly did not have a fastball but I was able to make the ball move pretty good.

I had no idea how apply junk to the ball or what it could do to make the ball move, and yet I had pretty good success as a pitcher because I could throw a sweeping curve or a screwball or a sinker and it would actually break a fair amount.

So why is it that if a kid like me with no talent could do that, these guys feel the need to resort to cheating? I know their natural stuff is much better than anything I could have done.
Posted: 9:18 PM, October 23, 2006   by walter dick
Loved the recent response at 8:15 pm from 'Anonymous.' Finally, a completely SANE and entirely reasonable response!! ... that better still, ...puts the game, ...the series, etc. in true perspective!!

"Anonymous" 8:15pm writes: "It's a game. The traditions of a game are to be embraced. How does one not acknowledge the fact that without any appearance of a substance on his hand he frankly improved - after the first inning? Someone made the statement that none of the opposing pitchers complained - there is the real point. In Iraq now and amazed at what serves as sports emphasis...lets just play ball!"

Here's a person, personally battling for our beloved country; under tremendously difficult and dangerous conditions. He, like others of us, just want to enjoy the drama of the '06 World Series. To echo 'Mr. 8:15-pm-anonymous:' "... [people, just stifle it] ... and "lets just play ball!"

walter, from Anderson, Indiana
Posted: 9:30 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Rogers and the Tigers are an overrated joke.....if you havent began to figure that out by now. If not, you will soon...Cards in 5 baby.
Posted: 9:50 PM, October 23, 2006   by Jake
I haven't heard anyone mention the fact that every ball that is thrown into the dirt is immediately handed to the umpire. Pudge didn't wipe them off before handing them over, so anything that was on them would still be on them. Is the plate umpire in on it? Gimme a break...
Posted: 10:05 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
I wonder what Weaver is using to magically improve his performance in the postseason, incidentally. Before self-righteous Cards fans start whining about how they were robbed of the Series by a cheater, maybe they should start looking at the hands (and pantlegs, caps, etc.) of those in their own clubhouse.
Just because he washed his hand doesn't mean he washed off his glove or hat that he continued to touch throughout the very long stretch between pitches in the first inning. I have faith in La Russa, whatever he does he does for a reason.

Now, come on Cards fans, we are the best fans in the nation for a reason. Let's back our manager and our team and win this thing!

Go Cards! But I do have to say Great season Tigers.
Posted: 10:21 PM, October 23, 2006   by Anonymous
Regardless of the fact I am a Cards fan, Pine Tar was undoubtedly the substance on Rogers' hand. Unfortunately, the author of the article doesn't realize, even though it was wiped off, Pine Tar leaves a residue difficult to remove for a period of time. Maybe he would know this had he EVER picked up a baseball bat with Pine Tar on it. Roger's cheated, and will again unless he is punished.
Posted: 11:15 PM, October 23, 2006   by new tigers' fan.
Former Card fan, what are you talking about? you are clueless, yes breaking someones knee cap is totally the same thing as throwing out a cheater when you catch him, i can clearly see your moronic logic know....where were u going with your politics point? if anything by st. louis purposely trying to avoid the situation would be politics. He cheated, they caught him, LaRussa should have done everything possible to get him tossed for the series, (its not even close to breaking someones knee cap, you turely are a moron, you and LaRussa must me cousins)
Posted: 12:30 AM, October 24, 2006   by Tiggies 24-7
Ummm.....two-hit shut-out for eight innings...seven of them without the help of pine-tar...sorry cards...
Posted: 12:51 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
And MLB wonders why no one cares about the World Series? Here is a pitcher and team who obviously routinely cheats. Presented with pictorial evidence from multiple games and what do they do? Nothing. The opposing manager evens knows MLB won't do anything so he doesn't even bother to complain. Perhaps instead of creating ads saying please watch the world series, MLB should clean up their act. They got a hitter who some may claim broke home run records but that requires an asterisk because of steroids. How far baseball has fallen. I am so glad my father isn't here to see what has happen to baseball.
Posted: 1:31 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
I am ashamed to be a baseball fan if this is just "the way it is". Thanks for teaching the children that cheating is ok if everyone does it.
Posted: 1:39 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
I have been a baseball fan all of my life and I have never heard of this vast pine-taring underworld of baseball until now. I had no idea that it was so common among professional baseball players to cheat. It's really sad. I love baseball but I feel it's becoming worse and worse. Why isn't the media talking about what can be done? Since when do they just let dishonest actions slide because those who practice in such a way find it acceptable.
I'm amazed it took this long for somebody to play the "What about the children?" card.
Posted: 1:40 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
I have been a baseball fan all of my life and I have never heard of this vast pine-taring underworld of baseball until now. I had no idea that it was so common among professional baseball players to cheat. It's really sad. I love baseball but I feel it's becoming worse and worse. Why isn't the media talking about what can be done? Since when do they just let dishonest actions slide because those who practice in such a way find it acceptable.
Posted: 2:23 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Some of you are amazing!!
1) you have concluded it was pine tar-- Interesting. The best umps in baseball didn't.
2) you all think pine tar helps a breaking ball. It is gripped on the seams, pine tar is little help. (I pitched in college)
3) the Tigers are cheaters? because of this?
4) Rogers is the Tigers' Ace? You don't know the Tigers.
Posted: 2:27 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Please someone send Tommy Lasorda to pull me out of my kitchen cabnit! "Real fans don’t hide in October. They celebrate it"-Give me a break! After that fiasco you can count me out of watching the World Series. Who wants to chear for a cheater? I felt like I was watching Rudy but half way through the movie he cheats to get into Notre Dame. I'd walk out of the theatre and go get some ice cream instead. Wouldn't you? I wouldn't care if the director artisticly showed that all the college kids were doing it, or that Rudy was a smart kid who could have got in on his own anyway, I'd leave. Look I don't care if everyone in baseball does it or if it didn't help improve his performance. It is what it is. Frankly I didn't stick around to see his 2-8 inning performance, like I said, I'd rather be having some ice cream.
if using pin tar is so common, so innocuous, then why would rogers feel compelled to lie about it?
Posted: 3:53 AM, October 24, 2006   by Mike
Excuse me. Much has been made here about cheating. Some say it sets a bad example, some say it's been around forever. Some say Rogers should be suspended and he's a cheater and a liar and God knows what else. Well, the people in control of the situation (the umpires), who are supposedly neutral, say it was nothing. They had a better view than any of you. People here have convicted Rogers with circumstantial evidence at best. I think everyone on the field handled the situation in a very professional manner. The reporters in the media are making a big deal out of all this. The players in the media are not. I guess they're trying to spice up a series that they don't think the rest of America cares about.
Posted: 3:56 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Hey Silvag, two words, spel chek
Hmmmm, just had another thought. If "everyone" does it, is it cheating. If the playing field is level...if a tree falls in the forest...I digress
Posted: 5:08 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Let Roger's have his day!! He washed his hands after the first inning and threw 7 Great innings afterward! Its more the fact he is pitching great and hitting his spots better than ever than the fact he may have used pine-tar!
I thought that anything that allows a hitter, or pitchers, to enhance his performance was illegal and punishable. What is the difference between a corked bat and steroids? Between pinetar, or sandpaper, and amphetamins?
I was fllowing the game on MLB GAmeday; I simply thought that Rogers was outstanding...I was unaware of the controversy untill the following day. From the pictures I can only conclude that Rogers, somehow, finds the same color mud in different stadiums and that it ends always in the same part of his hand; perhaps it is a visual decoy and the real stuff is somewhere in his uniform. In any case, from all the info, he did not "wash the smudge", he wiped it off; that is not enough for pinetar. He cheated all night and TLR's behaviour is indeed suspicious. Cards in 6!
Posted: 9:04 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
the issue is simple kenny rogers is a cheater. he used a foreign sustance and should have been ejected from the game, but no one had the "balls" to send him to the showers. let's drop this issue as it takes away from the remaining games and rogers is not worth the publicity he is getting.
Posted: 9:57 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
I'm tired of this BS.All you people who say Kenny Rogers is a cheater based on what you saw on
TV and what former Cardinal player said. The umpires didn't have a problem with it why should we? Isn't this alittle like the Bonds situation he hasn't been proven guilty yet many of us and the press had said he is. If all you people who are bleeding heart thinking purists, get a life people will always cheat to get ahead, Its been that way forever. Let's go look at pictures of Christy Matthewson blow up his hand ans see if his hands were dirty? For you Cardinal Fans I'm still angry about the 34 series with the Tigers. I wasn't even alive at the time, but didn't Ducky Medwick (I'm not sure of the name)slide into Detroit's 3rd Baseman at the time and took him out for the game? It looked to me as he tried to that guy on purpose.
What a cheater
Posted: 10:17 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
OK. I was not going to say anything but..... Some people say Kenny Rogers was cheating, others say he was getting the best advantage, because as we all "know" most pitchers use "something" on the baseball. I guess I would go with what does everyone else do. My analogy is this. How many people go the speed limit on the highway. 80 is not seventy miles per hour. The rules say 70, but even when one get stopped one sometimes does not get a ticket. The other part of the rule in traffic is "ya gotta keep up with traffic". Kenny Rogers obviously had something on his hand. However the umpires said it was not intentional, nor a foreign substance. Gee.. I wonder how many pitchers, players, managers do try and get an advantage?

Posted: 10:30 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
I don't care who wins this series, but the "everyone does it" argument is so dumb. If everyone used steroids, would that be ok too? Rules are there for a reason - until the rule is changed, its cheating.
Posted: 10:46 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
It goes to show that in sports. Anyone will try to get the extra edge. La Russa did not challenge it because having "Pine Tar" or cheating is part of the game and Im sure he knows that his pitcher are doing the same thing. I really don't see a difference in using Pine Tar or Steroid. Those substances will do the same thing, get the extra edge in the game. The pitcher use pine tar, the batter use steroid.
Posted: 10:51 AM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Too bad Kenny didnt have any pine tar onhand when in a Yanks uniform...

LaRussa must be in a quandry of sorts since he jumped to the defense of 'McGuire the liar' and Canseco claimed he knew about the steroids in Oakland as well. Sort of hippocritical pointing out a cheater after defending those two roid heads.
Bottom line?

He cheated and got away with it.

Just like Bonds.
Just like Giambi.
Just like McGwire.
Just like Sheffield.
Just like Pudge Rodriguez.
Just like Albert Belle.
Just like...

As someone posted above, you wonder why MLB's ratings go down every year?

As Buster Olney pointed out this morning, when Sammy Sosa'a bat cracked and the cork came out, the umps gathered around, looked the situation over, and threw Sosa out. Because he broke the rules.

Having pine tar on your hand is against the rules. Except in the WS, I guess.
Posted: 12:33 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
You know, one can't help but notice the bitterness of many baseball fans over the outcome of this year's post-season play. Baseball usually ends in the usual places--exception being 2006. Reading between the lines of many posted comments, blatant frustrations are apparent. Perhaps it explains why Roger's dirty hand is all anyone (including the cameras) can focus on. Kenny, the Tigers and even the Cards made a lot of unhappy fans this fall because they beat teams they weren't supposed to. Anything within reach, like this pine tar issue, is latched onto in hope of invalidating the victories. Face it, both the Tigers and the Cards outplayed their competition and that's why they're now playing the World Series.

Referencing another post, the Rogers pine tar issue is over. The umpires dealt with it appropriately in the game, as well as La Russa and even Leyland. Why do we continue to second guess them? Read JH's article and his candid talk with a major league pitching coach. This is nothing new or even controversial! Impressions are to not make a big issue out of it as it is all too commonplace in the game. Perhaps many more pitchers than we know try to get such an edge. Is it unlike stealing the opponents signals? Is it even possible that La Russa and the umps responded because the media caught it? Again, this is nothing new. Do Yankees fans think pine tar tipped the scale in favor of the Tigers in the ALCS? How about the extra $100 million dollars a year the Yanks spend on player salaries? Scales still tipped? Pine tar use by the pitcher is technically illegal in MLB, but the players on stage dealt with it as they chose to. Enough said. Kenny pitched a great game and nobody can take that away from him. Let's look forward to an exciting series to continue with Game 3 tonight.
Posted: 12:47 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
This will be very clear and to the point. Has Kenny Rogers cheated? Yes! Should Tony La Russa have made any more of this than he already has? NO! Cardinal Nation shut up and stop whining. Doctored balls or not it doesn’t matter the Cardinals should have done more with the bats. Albert Pujols gave it a ride just not far enough to get it out of the park. Rogers fielded 2 gems that if they get through score at least one run for the Cards. No amount of pine tar will help that. We left Detroit with a split exactly what we did with the Mets not a bad place to be in a 7 game series. You want to stop Rogers from cheating move on and win the next 3 games and ill be there outside the stadium Thursday night partying with you.

Note to Bud Selig the nation is watching if you think there is a problem with cheating by doctored balls then you need to step in and do the right thing. A suspension is in order if the evidence proves there was cheating. Don’t stick your head in the sand like you did with the steroids issue, the casual fan and occasional watcher wants to know the performances they watch are not tainted by cheating. If this is truly still Americas Past Time then you must protect it. GO CARDS!


Posted: 1:12 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
I think its sad that Detroit has to resort to cheating to win a game. And you know he simply switched to a different substance after the first. Detroit knows they can't beat the Cards fairly so they have to resort to cheating to remain competitve and get on the Cards level.
"Posted: 12:33 PM, October 24, 2006 by Anonymous
You know, one can't help but notice the bitterness of many baseball fans over the outcome of this year's post-season play."
That is not a fair statement; I am not bitter at all; I am quite content and enjoying the post season; I, for sure, expected the Cardinals to be where they are right now; as for Detroit, I o not follow the American league much..But I am sure MANY Detroit fans expected the Tigers to be were they are. Maybe there is botterness somewhere else..Thos have to wait for next season and prove themselves.
The argument here is about what constitute cheating; all angles on that question need to be addressed. Baseball can't afford ambiguity when it comes to rules.
Today all experts, including La Russa, clain that Rogers was using pinetar; if it is not such a big deal to use, make it legal...Make corked bats legal; make sand paper legal..Stealing signs is an art; it does not involve foreign substances; it is like a base stealer reading the pitchers movements and evaluating the catchers ability. Baseball is an art; unlike any other sport it resembles real life. Cheating can kill it.
Cards in 6!!
Posted: 2:09 PM, October 24, 2006   by GeezerPiratesFan
I like the understated way Larussa has played this. Understated, classy and sportsmanlike - you don't see a lot of that in pro sports these days.
Posted: 2:14 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
i'm not a tigers or cards fan, barely even a baseball fan, but this is truly a funny debate. i'm struck by the fact that people, including the author of the article, seriously argue the point, "if you don't get caught . . ." for a little perspective, check out this influential theory of moral development: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlberg's_stages_of_moral_development

morality based on punishment (i.e., the "if you don't get caught" mentality) is the first stage (of six total stages) of moral development, roughly the equivalent of a 4- or 5-year-olds moral development.

for those who would argue that this is only baseball/sport, keep in mind that this is their occupation. do you make moral decisions at your work place based on this low level of moral reasoning? if so, don't be surprised by the world you live in!
Posted: 2:23 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Die hard Tigers fan here. Did KR use pine tar probably...was it handled correctly...probably. The point here is that it is widespread knowledge that substances are used. For crying out loud I just played baseball in high-school nd I new kids that would put equivalents of pinetar on the rim of there hat..... Thats high school its part of the game and as for the blogger who asked if you were a coach in little league would I allow it the anser is yes if the kid wanted to do it... I wouldnt suggest it but I wouldnt tell him no...Its part of baseball history and tradition.
Posted: 3:05 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Most of the replies on here are idiotic from people that don't have a clue. It was a gripping substance, not dirt, probably pine tar. The only reason LaRussa did anything was because the Fox cameras made a big deal about it. He was not about to take it to a higher level, because Cards pitchers (as well as many other pitchers around the league) do the same thing. For the most part, it is an accepted practice which is why Rogers wasn't really trying to hide it, although he could have been a little less blatant about it. Therein lies the problem. MLB is to blame, if there is a rule either enforce it, or change the rule. You can't blame Rogers or any pitcher for that matter,for using a gripping substance that is within reason, has become an accepted practice.
"You can't blame Rogers or any pitcher for that matter,for using a gripping substance that is within reason, has become an accepted practice."
So, it is a question of "within reason"? Well, you got me there; my reasoning does not allow any "performance enhancing" substance..I know that you doné really believe what you wrote. Where does YOUR "within reason" argument tells us to stop?
What a white wash!
Cards in 6 games!!!
Posted: 3:43 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
welcome gambler to the giambi-bonds-sheffield-grimsley-sosa-damon-palmeiro-a-rod *for the slap*-perry-black sox club.
Posted: 4:09 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Tony LaRussa can pick out a smudge of pine tar on a thumb of a pitcher.
But he couldn't tell the Mark McGwire was doing steroids for at least 5 years with the Cardinals?
Mmmmmmmm...smells just like a lawyer to me.
Posted: 4:10 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
"Its part of baseball history and tradition." Erm...Should we also go back to segragated Baseball... What nonsense! Cards in 6!
Boston must have used pine tar in 2004 to sweep the series. Get a life cry babies.
Posted: 4:34 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Posted: 9:30 PM, October 23, 2006 by Anonymous
Rogers and the Tigers are an overrated joke.....if you havent began to figure that out by now. If not, you will soon...Cards in 5 baby.

I am curious... Who led the majors in record most of the year? That would be the Tigers. The Cardinals finshed the season 5 games over 500 right??? 83-78 if I recall.. The Tigers finished 95-67. The Mets were the only team in the National League to finish with a better record than the Tigers, and the Tigers were the 3rd best team in the AL at the end of the season. Exactly how does that make them over-rated? The facts are that the NL is the weaker league and the Cards, although they are a fairly decent team, finished the season 5 games over 500 and they are in the Series. Decent is as far as i will go.
Yes, I am a Tigers fan. Yes, I think that the "clump of dirt" was in fact pine tar. The Cards couldn't touch him for the rest of the game anyhow. The Tigers swept the Cards in interleague play this year. The Cardinals are a mediocre team that barely beat the Mets. Prepare for the collapse Kids. Tigers in 6. Rogers fades into the sunset a world champion.
Boston must have used pine tar to sweep the 2004 world series. GET A LIFE YOU CRY BABIES it was only game 2. do you count yourselves out allready?
Posted: 4:40 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Jay Howell (Dodgers) was ejected from the 1988 NLCS for pine tar on his glove. Why was NY Mets manager Davey Johnson willing to go after Howell and LaRussa not willing to go after Rogers?

More recently, in June '05, Frank Robinson (Nationals) had Brendan Donnelly (Angels) undressed on the mound and the pine tar on his glove earned him ten days off. Why did Robby go after Donnelly?

My guess is that LaRussa knew about Rogers, but was waiting to spring his complaint at the right strategic moment, not in the first inning, but Fox Television stole his thunder. Unable to ignore the intrusive and cycloptic TV camera capturing an image for national broadcast, LaRussa was forced to ask the umpires to inquire.

Ultimately though, the umpires have not identified the substance as pine tar or any other foreign substance, which they presumably would be able to recognize. Maybe it really was just dirt, perhaps on a coffee and nicotine stain.

(For the record, I'm a Dodger fan with no dog in this fight.)
Posted: 4:44 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Why are teams approaching Angels pitching coach Bud Black about managerial jobs? He couldn't even fix Jeff Weaver!
Posted: 4:47 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
As a former collegiate pitcher and lifelong fan, I was just wondering if anybody remembers gaylord perry, don drysdale, jim bunning, don sutton??? (all hall of famers) . Many of the players that have made this great game what it is have been some of the dirtiest, nastiest slimebags ever to walk this earth. And honestly, I don't have a problem with that. In no way am I defending Kenny Rogers, but in the era of juiced balls, juiced bats, juiced hitters, I would be using anything I could possibly use to gain an advantage on today's hitters, just as many of the great pitchers throughout the history of the great game of baseball. If you have ever played baseball competively, you should understand my viewpoint.
Posted: 5:17 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
I'm a Cards fan and frankly, regardless of the smudge, they got flat beat in Game 2. But the point is not that the pine tar won it for the Tigers... it didn't. The real issue is that baseball fans should be able to tune into the World Series and not feel like they need a shower afterwards.
People.. Yes I am big Cardinal fan.

No matter how you look at it, it is a world series game and what Rogers did, was cheating. Yes he did pitch great! I will not take that from him. But he came into a world series game with intentions of cheating. What part of that do cardinal haters don't get?

I am so confused as to why this is being ignored by MLB. The intent to cheat was present and so was the evidence.

What can be done now? I don't know, but people have been ejected in the past for doing the same thing.

And La Russa is a great manager, that can't be taken from him..

I am at a loss as to what can be done now. So I say tonights game will be a 7-3 Victory for my Cards with tar or not!
With the attitude like...

"The culture of baseball is different than perhaps any other sport in that it tolerates -- if not embraces -- getting any kind of edge that you can"

its no wonder that steriods are tolerated in baseball...

Posted: 6:44 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Normally I leave this sort of childishness alone, but....

Regardless of the controversy did the Cardinals have a chance to win it in the 9th with a different pitcher? Did they choke?

Pretty much.

Based on the comments here I see a LOT of CCB's (Cardinal Cry Babies). I would have thought here would be more Detroit Cry Babies, they live in one of the worst local economies in the nation.

Perhaps we should check all the pitchers in the series? The issue is more complicated than the ranting "He Cheated!" line. To be fair the question is not just did he cheat, but who is cheating, right?

Or does "fair" to a Cardinals fan mean it goes their way?

BTW I am a Rockies fan out here in Denver and I could care less who wins the series. I just want a fun one!
Posted: 6:53 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
C'mon, I mean yes, I think that it was definitely not dirt, but for that matter, I also think that Alber Pujols is still on some performance-enhancing drug.

Posted: 8:35 PM, October 24, 2006   by Shane - St. Louis
1) He cheated, got away with it. Catch him next time.
2) Despite cheating and being scum, he pitched a hell of a game.
3) Cardinal bats did not produce.
4) LaRussa took the high road and decided not to whine about it like the rest of us. Why? See number 3. Besides, MLB and Selig should be the ones to step in.

Cheating has been apart of sports since inception, but by no means should we EVER accept it as the norm. As far as I'm concerned, those who accept that have no credibility and no respect from me.

Let us all move on, stop our complaining, and enjoy a series between 2 talented teams, despite how you feel about the condition of Baseball, the managers, or players.
"Posted: 6:53 PM, October 24, 2006 by Anonymous
C'mon, I mean yes, I think that it was definitely not dirt, but for that matter, I also think that Alber Pujols is still on some performance-enhancing drug.
The only reason you dare say that Pujols is on the juice is because he is going to break ALL the sacred offensive records of Baseball. We good health, when Pujols is finished there won't be one record left still standing from segragated Baseball. Tough to swallow. Go Tigers? Tonight they are going early to bed:)
Cards in 6, or 5!!
Posted: 11:43 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
Pujols just makes things happen. He doesn't need to hit it out; Tiger's pitchers and defense fall apart with El Hombre at the plate. Carpenter is in top shape; Tigers Bullpen is "ön something"; Edmonds and Rolen are showing that they are also capable of winning games. Sorry Tiger fans, not enough pinetar in the market to help you!
That's all folks! It is 05:40 hour here in Holland; it was well worth it..Cardinals will be World Champions (even if the rest of the world is not onterested). The understimated Cards are proving that a great TEAM can have a bad month and get back into gear.
Good morning America! Cards in 6! But 5 is looking like a strong posibility!
Posted: 11:59 PM, October 24, 2006   by Anonymous
How do you paint a Tiger white? Send a Carpenter to the mound!!
Posted: 12:07 AM, October 25, 2006   by Anonymous
"My guess is that LaRussa knew about Rogers, but was waiting to spring his complaint at the right strategic moment, not in the first inning, but Fox Television stole his thunder. Unable to ignore the intrusive and cycloptic TV camera capturing an image for national broadcast, LaRussa was forced to ask the umpires to inquire."You got something there.
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