More on Targate

Is Kenny Rogers doing it with mirrors pine tar? ESPN has video demonstrating that the dirty hand has been dirty through the playoffs. And now Paul Lukas at UniWatch reports that The Gambler is playing with a modified, batting-practice cap (and not the standard game issue New Era 5150 model), which has a black underbrim, on which it is all the easier to hide a foreign substance.

The tape seems pretty damning here. Under the rulebook, penalty for a pitcher using a banned substance is ejection and a ten game suspension. This year has already been smeared by a player (actually, many) who has gotten away with cheating. How will the league and the PA respond now? At the very least, some kind of investigation seems warranted. History is watching….

41 comments… add one
  • I don’t know, this whole thing seems silly to me. I mean, whatever it was, Rogers cleaned it off after the 1st inning and then proceeded to mow down the Cards for the next seven. Could there have been more stuff under the brim of his cap? Maybe, but then why even bother with the superobvious clump on his hand? Is Kenny pulling a Lester Hayes and applying blobs of stickum wherever a adequate surface exists? I don’t see it. Has he been doing this all season? He’s had a pretty good year. But if so, why hasn’t anyone else caught this? And wouldn’t it be pretty stupid to go out there with a massive clump of pine tar on your pitching hand and hope no one notices? Just b/c he’s acting guilty (‘I didn’t notice the dirt…’) doesn’t mean he is. Not that Rogers isn’t a cameraman-attacking freak, of course.
    That said, I think this negates the results of the ALDS and that MLB should put the Yanks in the Series right now. :)
    ps – Hey, Brad and Mrs. Gerb, are you ready for Cutler yet?

    Spidey October 23, 2006, 1:57 pm
  • Spidey, you know I’m a Jake fan. I’m behind Jake until Shanny pulls the string because I’m always on board with him! But, I did see in the postgame that Shanny said he’s only used 25 plays all year, which to me is baffling. He’s either trying to protect Jake, which is crazy because we all know he can handle the playbook (see last two years worth of stats) or he’s just not letting Pitt, Indy, and SD see the offense. Either way, it’s a big game this week and Jake’s going to have to be on his game. I forsee Denver running the ball right down their throat (best runner versus worst defender of run) and Jake taking advantage downfield at will. Anyhow, did you see that Merriman is suspended for drugs for four games? No Denver for him!
    Oh, Rogers is the worst.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 2:04 pm
  • Spidey. he wasn’t caught before so he must not have been doing anything wrong is, i think, flawed logic. if the guy has the same “dirt spot” on his finger in repeated games, it needs to be explained, and if he’s wearing non-standard equipment, that too needs to be explained, That the Cards failed to hit him after his hand only was discovered seems irrelevant. Hitting is difficult under any circumstance. If a guy goes 0-4 with a corked bat, does he receive no penalty?

    YF October 23, 2006, 2:14 pm
  • Yeah, talk about cheaters! See ya, Merriman (who, thank God he’s not playing b/c he’s scary good)(for a cheater). But I think Shanny is chomping at the bit to get Cutler in there (only Holmgren and Weis are as good as Shanahan with young QBs). It’s just too soon. So he’s required to ride out Plummer for now and tailor the playbook with a damage-control bent in mind. He can’t come out and say that, though, b/c then Snake stops playing with any intensity. The Indy game will be the test, though, you’re right. If Plummer blows the game with some terrible picks (which we’ve seen even with the watered-down playbook), I think we’ll see Cutler eased into taking snaps.
    Apologies to YFSF for the Broncos talk, but as far as I know, there isn’t a BFRF out there yet… :)
    And YF, I’m not saying that since he wasn’t caught before, he’s therefore totally innocent now. More that, jeez, that dirt clump sure was obvious, and yet no one noticed it until now? If a guy was unexpectedly dealing against your whole lineup, would you not think to take a peek at what he was doing on the mound? Did, for instance, Torre and Gator just not think of this? No umps noticed this? Seems unlikely. Plus all the managers/players that Rogers pitched against this year as he was having his very solid season. This isn’t like a corked bat, b/c the cork isn’t out there for everyone, including multiple TV cameras, to see. And I don’t think it’s irrelevant that he pitched well afterwards, b/c whatever it was on his hand, it was removed after the first. So, then, it’s just him out there, no? And the Cards still couldn’t sniff a hit. Your analogy doesn’t work b/c it’s not the supposed cheater whiffing with an illegal piece of equipment, it’s the supposed cheater having his performance-enhancer taken away from him and still cruising, not missing a beat. Hitting is difficult, but Rogers was definitely spotting his pitches well. I mean, look–I’m not saying that there wasn’t gunk, possibly even illegal gunk, on his pitching hand. But maybe the guy is just in a serious groove, gunk or no gunk. LaRussa, of all people, didn’t go ballistic, so why should we? I think the hat thing is a stretch.

    Spidey October 23, 2006, 2:41 pm
  • Parse this deeper, and from my partisan position as a cynic I might say you get something like “the Yankees only lose when the other guy cheats”. On the other hand, Rogers is a bona fide jerk, so it’s harder to say. ;-)

    SF October 23, 2006, 3:17 pm
  • “the Yankees only lose when the other guy cheats”.
    the yankees did lose two other games, to guys who likely did not cheat.
    but i’d still like another crack at this guy. without the gunk and without the hat.
    (supposedly there was a dark spot on the cap beside the WS logo that he kept going to. i haven’t been able to find any video to confirm this though.)

    Yankee Fan In Boston October 23, 2006, 3:24 pm
  • man, let the spin begin…

    Brad October 23, 2006, 3:37 pm
  • spin?
    c’mon… if the sox were baffled by a guy who they previously owned in the playoffs (where this pitcher was infamously hideous) and it was later shown that he had identical smudges of unknown origin on his pitching hand, you’d want to know what it was, too.
    the yankees didn’t have the arms. if they didn’t lose to the tigers they would’ve lost to someone else. this isn’t about losing a playoff series.
    this is about losing a big game to kenny m. f’ing rogers.
    (for me, at least.)

    Yankee Fan In Boston October 23, 2006, 3:46 pm
  • you must admit that the similarity between the pictures at the top of the following article are damning.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/23/sports/baseball/23palermo.html?ref=sports
    i also admit that he pitched incredibly after he washed up.
    …but why else would these identical smudges be there if not for nefarious acts? this is kenny rogers we’re talking about.
    if this was mike mussina’s hand there would be an uproar from a certain corner of the united states.

    Yankee Fan In Boston October 23, 2006, 4:02 pm
  • See, I know YFs are somewhat joking about this issue (certainly, the whole incident should be in question. Didn’t look like a mixture of dirt and rosin to me.). I’d like a recount on the 2005 awarding of the division, seeing as the Yankees won a game that year on the (steroid-enhanced) strength of a Matt Lawton HR.

    Quo October 23, 2006, 4:26 pm
  • no there wouldn’t becuase Mussina has never been a thorn in Boston’s side really. Over the span of his time in NY, Moose has been good, bad and terrible against Boston. When it all boils down, the two are average aganist each other.
    Rogers dominated when he shouldn’t have. There’s a major difference.
    A pitcher has to be young, unknown or a complete junkballer to have great success against NY or Boston: It’s never a guy like Moose, who’s clearly better than Rogers.
    Please exclude Kazmir from the above comments.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 4:27 pm
  • While we’re at it, let’s give back the 2003 ALCS.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 4:28 pm
  • and we’ll give back any wins gained by Jose Conseco.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 4:29 pm
  • Have the Cards said anything? Did the Yankees say anything? And I don’t mean to the beat reporters after the game, I mean to each other, to the umps, to MLB?
    Lack of complaints doesn’t mean lack of suspicion, for certain, but the silence over Rogers, until just last night, was deafening. Is it because only now there is a realization that something might be up? Was it players protecting their own? Was it guys not wanting to throw rocks in glass houses? This is curious to me, though I don’t mean this as a comment on Rogers’ guilt or innocence, of which I have almost no idea.

    SF October 23, 2006, 4:37 pm
  • brad, i’m not buying what you’re selling.
    if mike mussina was caught with a lump of turd on his pitching hand (while on the mound) sox fans everywhere would pounce all over it.
    and i’ve been at fenway when moose took a no-hitter into the 8th. i think he’s done that a couple of times there.
    …of course, not in the post-season…
    but had he junked the ball he might have, and sox fans would be in an uproar. that is my point.

    Yankee Fan In Boston October 23, 2006, 4:56 pm
  • oh yeah, I don’t doubt that. All I’m saying is that Moose has never really dominated the Sox in a playoff atmosphere, so it would not have been so big. Now, let’s say Moose actually beat the Red Sox, or anyone for that matter, in a playoff game and it was found that he cheated, the network responsible for this site would be overloaded.
    Maybe the difference is that it was much more than Rogers that caused the Tigers to win that series.
    Either way, it’s bunk for him to do it if it’s true.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 4:59 pm
  • PS – a lump of turd? Swwwweeeettt.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 5:00 pm
  • The Phillies signed Jamie Moyer to a two year 10.5 million dollar contract. That’s a lot of scratch for a hundred year old man that throws 60mph and will now play half his games for two years in a high school ballpark where the wind is always blowing out.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 5:05 pm
  • This seems to be, by definition, a media driven controversy.
    This isn’t a situation where a complaint elicited the media coverage. It’s the other way around. And until the Cardinals actually complain and/or the substance in question can be determined with 100% certainty to be illegal, this is a total waste of time.
    It’s pretty scary when the media concocts the story and then takes it to the bank by reporting on it. That’s beyond muckraking. FOX has no business sticking its nose in this – minus an official complaint. Their coverage is not in the interest of fairness in the game, it’s in the interest of creating controversy so that you’ll tune in watch their commercials.
    That’s why, come postseason, I turn the volume OFF on my TV set!

    lp October 23, 2006, 5:12 pm
  • mmkay. so. jason giambi, ADMITTED cheater using HGH for extended period of time = rationalization and indignant protests about sox fans’ lack of decency for bringing it up. remotely possible, but implausible implication that pitcher who beat the yankees was cheating = burn the witch, non sequiturs about mike mussina when sox fans bring up the apparent dubiousness of the allegations.
    allrighty then.
    what’s the over / under on number of comments to “the bloody sock was faked!” accusation from a YF on this thread?
    p.s. i also agree that “a lump of turd” = sweet.

    beth October 23, 2006, 5:16 pm
  • the bloody sock was faked…
    I don’t see the similarity here, Beth. Even if it was fake, which I have no idea about, who did that affect? He had surgery, we know, but the sock is not comperable to, I don’t know, using HGH to hit homeruns.
    Let’s not get into this crap again.

    Brad October 23, 2006, 5:20 pm
  • looks like sh*t to me. And if he’s putting sh*t on his hand to gain an advantage, then bless his heart.
    I guess I’m not too excited about this controversy because no one in baseball seems to be complaining. It could be a case of players protecting their own, or it could be that no one gives a Kenny Rogers’crap.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2006, 5:32 pm
  • lp, I’m not as ready to hang the media on this one. Fox cameras caught something interesting and showed it to the viewers. The baseball teams decided it was indeed worth checking out and did so to some (some might call it a criminally low) extent. Fox shows us interesting things (or things they find interesting) about the game all the time.
    The contradictory explanations, particularly Rogers’ “I was told to get rid of it/I just realized it and washed it off” silliness, followed by Leyland’s complete contradiction of that story, helped feed the controversy. If that’s anyone’s fault, it’s Rogers’ for not telling the truth right up front.
    And then the question becomes, “Why is Rogers not telling the truth unless he has something about which to lie?”

    Paul SF October 23, 2006, 5:43 pm
  • I don’t see what this has to do with the Yankees at all. Bitterness is not the issue. The Yanks lost to the Tigers. They’re out. Period. I’m rooting for the Tigers.
    But I’m shocked by some of the comments on this thread. If “baseball” isn’t complaining, the media shouldn’t stick it’s nose into the problem? Huh? No one in baseball was complaining about steroids, either. It’s the media’s JOB to stick it’s nose into potentially uncomfortable matters. That the Cards failed to complain, that no previous team failed to complain, is simply not relevant. Baseball is a game with a serious integrity problem. When some fairly significant evidence emerges and it suggests a player is cheating in the league’s marquee event, the media has an obligation to report, and the league has an obligation to investigate. Period. Let’s learn our lessons from history. Not ignore them.

    YF October 23, 2006, 5:44 pm
  • i just heard LaRussa’s press conference. he thankfully took the high road. he went on about competition and his love for it, and said that he doesn’t like getting into the B.S. of the game…head-hunting, corked bats, etc. he just wants it to stop. he said he knew about Rogers using it earlier from video tape, and told the umpire early, to get it cleaned up. it was, and he was ok with it. he said they just got beat. when asked if he thought it was dirt, he kind of smiled (which looks like it actually hurts him), and said “it didn’t look like dirt to me”.

    m.g. yanks fan October 23, 2006, 5:47 pm
  • An excellent comment on the situation at SI.com from John Heyman: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/jon_heyman/10/23/scoop.rogers/index.html
    Looks like no one complains because so many do it. Go figure. Kinda like…..

    YF October 23, 2006, 5:58 pm
  • Part of competition is getting inside your opponent’s head — asking him to remove flashy jewelry, checking bats for pine tar, asking the pitcher to wash his hands, etc. It’s certainly not B.S. It’s part of the game. Seems duplicitous to suddenly say, “Wellll, we didn’t want to dsrupt anything to go out and do an inspection.”

    Paul SF October 23, 2006, 6:02 pm
  • good point, YF. I have to admit to being cavalier and lazy in my thinking about this. I haven’t thought this through, and didn’t see much of a controversy here. I stand corrected.

    Nick-YF October 23, 2006, 6:02 pm
  • Paul, i’m not saying i agree with him. i guess i’m just glad he didn’t go crazy about it. from what i’ve read, almost all pitchers do this. which doesn’t make it right. at all. my feeling is, while everyone does this, and it’s a part of the game, if you’re dumb enough, or just happen to be caught, you need to be punished. didn’t this happen to a Dodger’s pitcher in 88. he was suspended for the rest of the series i think. i can’t remember his name though

    m.g. yanks fan October 23, 2006, 6:12 pm
  • That SI article is absolutely damning, imo. Further proof (in case you needed any) that Kenny Rogers = not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

    Paul SF October 23, 2006, 6:21 pm
  • The media need to get a grip, so to speak. Some reasons why this is a silly, ratings-driven non event:
    (1) If Rogers was trying to cheat, he sure was strangely obvious about it. For this outrage to be real, Rogers would either have to be completely unaware of the fact that a nation of baseball fans and analysts were watching, or completely stupid.
    (2) The Cardinals aren’t complaining… Probably because they’ve got six pitchers who all have some borderline-illegal method of getting a better grip, too.
    (3) There’s no game tonight, so the media needed something to talk and write about all day.
    (4) Two teams from the Flyover Zone in the World Series? The networks and print media need some drama to build viewer interest.

    Hudson October 23, 2006, 6:33 pm
  • While I don’t doubt, Hudson, that the sports media folks are happy for some drama to have erupted in the middle of what is rather a boring World Series from a coast-centric point of view, I have trouble believing that they have concocted a story from nothing with the sole purpose of getting ratings/advertising dollars/what-have-you.
    Once again, the people giving this story legs are the players, managers and umpires, who mishandled this from the beginning. They contradicted themselves and each other, making it sound like there was a story there. Being the good journalists even sports writers want to be, they jumped on it. Good for them. It’s more than Bud Selig has done in the face of overwhelming evidence of rampant cheating in his ballgame — and frankly more than media members themselves did during the steroid age.

    Paul SF October 23, 2006, 6:59 pm
  • Once again, the people giving this story legs are the players, managers and umpires
    Don’t forget bloggers throwing around accusations, Paul. We’re not immune. Or, at least YF isn’t. What was this thread if not another accusation? Not that I have a problem with YF’s thread: I don’t. But it’s not just the “media” doing it. We do it too, sometimes.

    SF October 23, 2006, 7:52 pm
  • I think most of us grew up seeing Niekro trying to throw away the sandpaper (emery board), and we all know about vaseline, stuff on the cap, stuff on the back of the hat. My only issue is whether or not they’ll get the suspension going that one is suppossed to get when they’re caught.
    I don’t think there is an ounce of doubt that Rogers has been cheating. Unlike HGH and other “enhancers” it’s something that can be remedied by stopping the person from doing it (unlike building up muscle mass with drugs).
    My guess is that neither team wants to sully the world-series by getting someone suspended for “cheating” in a year where “cheating” is being “investigated.”
    As for Roger’s performance post-cleansing, he’s been good, but he had that s^%$ on his hat…that’s how you use a foreign substance (at least that’s how it’s been done for the past 100+ years in the majors). I think he should be suspended for being such an idiot and so blatantly breaking the rules.
    As for Hudson’s first point…Kenny Rogers has been pretty obvious in more ridiculous circumstances. Beating someone up infront of a camera crew…and then beating up someone WITH one of those CAMERAS ranks up there in the Mensa category. Acting like you have a Vulgar form of tourettes both on the field and in the dugout when YOU KNOW you’re on nationwide tv strikes me as a little bit dumb as well.
    The fact that FOX’s broadcast doesn’t put up a phone number you can call to donate to a Tourette’s fund everytime they show Kenny Roger’s cursing is beyond me–they could really do some good here.

    walein October 23, 2006, 8:10 pm
  • >>> … the people giving this story legs are the players, managers and umpires, who mishandled this from the beginning. They contradicted themselves and each other, making it sound like there was a story there. <<< Mishandled it, how? By not flying into a tizzy and spoon-feeding the media their controversy-of-the-minute? My point is precisely that the players, managers and umps apparently had no big issue with this -- until a TV broadcaster forced it to become an issue. To then blame them for "mishandling" something which was imposed on them as the focus of discussion is kind of saying the beaten wife asked for it. (Okay, bad comparison, but you get the idea.) LaRussa didn't come screaming out of the dugout and the umpires were perfectly calm about it. Whatever the substance was, getting rid of it actually seemed to improve Rogers' performance, so I really think it's on the media to justify this, not for the players to fulfill the role that a sports culture which now demands controversy in every big game, whether it's there or not.

    Hudson October 23, 2006, 8:37 pm
  • P.S. So long as this can of worms is open, I might as well say:
    ARMBRUSTER INTERFERED WITH FISK, DAMMIT

    Hudson October 23, 2006, 8:40 pm
  • Come on YF, you’re comparing a clump of you-have-no-idea-what and never will know even the first thing about to STEROIDS?!
    You’re a little caught up in the moment, and that’s the goal. But when you pull back, you have a substance which, by sight through a TV lens, you can’t identify (and never will be able to defitnitively) and a bunch of contradictory stories from managers and umps and players who only gave it a second thought when asked by the press.
    After that, it’s PURE HYPE. And it’s the perfect “controversy” because you will NEVER have an answer. It has legs because it offers us no answers, only stupid questions. We could debate about this all the way until next spring training.
    With Bonds, there’s a paper trail at least. And beyond that, the baseball press showed us what they’re really about during the Bonds scandal. They didn’t want to blow the whistle when they knew what was going on, especially since the circ was up during the Slammin Sammy and Big Mac clinical trail. And when the situation served them to actually start doing their jobs instead of checking their wallets, they overkilled the story – even as they were profiting from a reality show about him. those dorks are still taking Barry Bonds breaking the record polls. So please don’t lecuture me on what you feel the sports media’s job to be, epecially since it has never been the case.

    lp October 23, 2006, 10:11 pm
  • “…I have trouble believing that they have concocted a story from nothing with the sole purpose of getting ratings/advertising dollars/what-have-you.”
    Paul, you do know where most trade rumors come from don’t you?

    lp October 23, 2006, 10:14 pm
  • …nice discussion…i’m with whoever wondered why the yankees got dragged into it…is george being accused of slipping rogers the pine tar rag, or is that just speculation at this point?…
    …as for rogers, who cares if he had a little pine tar on his hand…personally i got a kick out of the tortured explanation that it was a “clump of dirt” mixed with resin, and that he “didn’t know it was there”…priceless…he seemed to pitch ok without it, so maybe the guy’s just on a roll, and the cards don’t have any more punch in their lineup than the yankees did…my theory is that he sold his soul to the devil, and it is likely that he’ll never be heard from again after this post season…
    …if you listened to the interview with palermo you realize that the bottom line is that baseball will do nothing about this episode…already wracked with scandal about its failed drug policy, mlb cannot afford to have the “fall classic” tarnished with such a blatant disregard for the rules right under the noses of their officials…and how bad would it look for them to throw out a pitcher who is marching on history with his streak of scoreless innings?…just another example of the sport “looking the other way”, nudge-nudge, wink-wink…

    dc October 23, 2006, 11:17 pm
  • Bloggers have a lot to do with spreading a story, of course. The media are doing a lousy job if they’re not reporting what fans and bloggers are talking about. The question, of course, is whether this is entierly media-generated. It’s not. Kenny Rogers helped to generate this by changing his story mid-interview and then telling a story completely different from everyone else’s.
    Tony LaRussa, of all people, playing it col and talking about how he doesn’t do the head games stuff? Umpires acting like “observing” a clump and “inspecting” it are the same thing? Please. The media sniffed up this tree because the managers, umpires and Rogers himself planted it, watered it and added a ladder to make the media’s job easier.
    There are lots of problems with sports media — the fuzze line between fact and opinion, and the atmosphere that discourages investigative reporting from beat writers are the two biggest problems, imo — but not asking questions in this situation would have been far more egregious than blindly believing the cock-and-bull being dished out by the participants.

    Paul SF October 24, 2006, 12:59 am
  • Or “cool” and “fuzzy,” if I could type :-P

    Paul SF October 24, 2006, 1:00 am

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