Monday, October 23, 2006

Dirt -or- Pine Tar

Yeah, let's address all of that.

I've pretty much talked to only one person about the incident [Kenny Roger's alleged application of pine tar to his hand during the first inning of last night's baseball game], but he pretty much agreed with me. Rogers was probably using pine tar. And the fact that he was was a) not surprising b) not really a big deal c) characteristic and d) kind of awesome.

More than anyone the Tigers have signed in the past few years, I've really come around on Kenny Rogers. I never liked him. I thought him old, ornery, hard to pin down (baseballwise I mean: I still can't figure out why people have so much trouble hitting him sometimes). Then I realized: shit! Those are pretty much my favorite characteristics in a human being!

So now I love Kenny. And he was totally cheating. And the fact that he'll get away with it, I mean, as much as you can say that - he washed his hands after one inning - it isn't really like he got away with anything, the fact that he'll get away with it is proof positive of why baseball is so great. Cheating is an unspoken part of a lot of sports, except of course for cricket as we all learned this summer. But most sports have their share of shady behind the scenes business. The thing is, in most sports what you could call cheating is so behind the scenes that you don't really see it. In baseball, this should not be the case. Cheating has always been a visible part of baseball.

And here, this, is why the whole steroid issue is such a big deal. These guys, McGuire, Sosa, Bonds, whoever, they broke the rule that if you were cheating, you had to do it in the open. You had to give the other team a chance to see what you were doing, check their detective work and awareness. It's like, what would you think of a substance that made cork invisible once it was inserted into a bat? Cheating methods in baseball were supposed to be archaic, unscientific and strategic. What are the chances they'll check my bat, what are the chances they'll steal this sign/catch me stealing this sign. Steroids brought cheating into the 21 century in a sport where it had previously been in the 17th.

So kudos for Kenny. Doin it the old fashioned way - putting sticky shit on your hand so the ball spins more. A lesson for all the kids out there learning wrong from right - that's how you cheat.

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