Ace Up His Sleeve?

What was that on Kenny Rogers’ hand?
Of course, pine tar on the pitcher has factored in the postseason before – in 1988, Dodgers batting practice pitcher closer Jay Howell got suspended for having pine tar on the bill of his cap, forcing the Dodgers to replace the spectacularly ineffective Howell with Orel Hershiser, who took over as closer in between starts and was devastating. Without that suspension the Mets, who just owned Howell that year, may well have pulled that NLCS out.
The moral of the story? Um, I’ll get back to you on that one…
UPDATE: Of course, anyone looking for hidden advantages for Rogers has to explain why his strikeout rate has fallen off sharply in the last two years. The fact is, Rogers is an aging pitcher hanging on to effectiveness, albeit better than others have done historically.

7 thoughts on “Ace Up His Sleeve?”

  1. Oh. My. God. You really went there?
    Pine tar. The reason you (did) miss things in 1988. And the resaon you (did) miss things in 2006.
    Speaking as an Indians fan… let’s really get into things….
    Like how Atlanta got the strike call on pitches 2 inches off the plate in 1995.
    Look – with all due respect. Especially since the Mets were the best team… in the regular season like the many of my teams were like the Bills in 2000. Look – Rogers is an BIGTIME a** hole.
    In real life (which really counts) and in things that children used to think that something like lasties were the worse you could cheat. So what? He proves otherwise.
    Good – and healthy – teams beat that s**t. Or at least – like the Cardinals… and uh, oddly enough like the Mets… at least notice.
    Whine all you want. At this level – um, anybody remember how that fan caught a supposed HR at Yankee stadium against Baltimore? – at this level you play every angle.
    St. Louis did. the Mets didn’t.
    Quit your bitching.

  2. Check out these pictures on Sports Illustrated they’re the best shots of Rogers’ hand I’ve seen (click the bold all-caps ‘PHOTOS’ on the right).
    Sure looks like pine tar to me, its a yellowish-brown substance of some sort.
    I’ve never been a pitcher obviously. That said, unless he was defacing the ball, IE scuffing it etc like Mike Scott used to do to get more movement on his splitter, I don’t get it. It doesn’t seem to me like just getting a better grip on the ball is worth it, and frankly I don’t see how 40 degrees makes so much difference that you need sticky on your hand – baseballs aren’t particularly slippery.
    And why the heck would he make it so visible like that? Hasn’t he heard of HDTV? I pointed out to my wife during the Mets series that the picture was so clear on our Sony you could clearly see the defects in Pujols’ shave when they put the camera on him, just like you were standing right next to him with your nose 12″ from his ear.

  3. I remember Howell coming back for the World Series and giving up a game-winning homer to McGwire on a hanging curveball (back when Mac couldn’t turn on fastballs) for the A’s only win in the series.

  4. Just to add to the spectacular irony of the Howell situation, unless I’m horribly mistaken, it was Davey Johnson who blew Howell in for the pine tar.

  5. …I’m no expert but i’m positive it was pine tar. So???. I think the reason it isn’t such a big deal is that it’s common to use it among pitchers these days. I think the bigger question is WHY didn’t he use the clear pine tar????.
    Anyhow, i’m sure if the Cards pitchers were “clean” there would have been a much bigger deal made about it. Also, after he washed it off he was STILL throwin’ smoke (maybe he switched to the clear tar??).

  6. If Rogers had any improper intent, why would he put it in such an obvious spot? I once saw an interview with Gaylord Perry, while he was still pitching, and he showed about 10 places that he could hide stuff. The interviewer asked if he wasn’t informing the umpires, and he said something to the effect of, “Oh, these aren’t my hiding spots. I’m not going to show you those.” The point being, Rogers certainly could have found somewhere less obvious than his uncovered pitching hand.

  7. Hey Dave, if your are too damn stupid to read the post move on. Pine tar cost the Mets in the NLCS this year? Where did you read that? That Howell was booted for Pine Tar is a fact; that Orel excelled in filling that void is a fact. I challenge Carl Monday to find the whine that you bitch about. On that note I must ask, are you related to Mike Cooper? The intellectual resemblance is striking.

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