ONE OF THE great
debates of last week: Did Alex Rodriguez cheat when he distracted Howie Clark
as the Blue Jays third baseman attempted—in vain—to field a pop fly? ( A-Rod
maintains he said, "Hah!" Clark insists he heard, "Mine.")
Nowhere was the question more diligently explored than on Derek Zumsteg's blog,
CheatersGuidetoBaseball.com. Zumsteg—author of a similarly titled
book—specializes in analyzing diamond dodges.
In the A-Rod case
he pointed out that a week earlier a University of Texas base runner had been
called out for interference after calling off a fielder on a pop fly in a game
against Missouri. After some back-and-forth with readers Zumsteg decided that,
contrary to what the umpires decided, A-Rod should have been called out too.
But he noted, "As long as [the rule is] not enforced—like foreign
substances on uniforms for pitchers—a runner would be dumb not to take
On his blog
Zumsteg does not sound like a cop ferreting out injustice; he is more of an
amused collector who treasures moments of chicanery. In early May he posted a
story about an Arizona high school team that executed the "Rainbow
Play." While a fast runner was stealing second, the catcher lobbed a
rainbow throw to the second baseman; meanwhile, everyone on his bench screamed
"pop fly" and pointed to the sky. The base stealer hesitated and was
caught in a rundown between first and second. "They practiced the play just
to get that one runner out," Zumsteg wrote. "Sweet stuff."