Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Pass the Kool Aid, I'm Drinking
2006-10-23 05:56
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Pine-tar or not, the new-and-improved (and very demonstrative) Kenny Rogers continues to roll. The man has not allowed a single run in three playoff starts. He must have sold his soul to the Devil. How else to explain how the formely timid Gambler has turned into the Raging Bull of baseball? You gotta laugh about it at this point. Wha' happen, dude?

2006-10-23 06:15:18
1.   Sliced Bread
I just hope Steinbrenner isn't watching any of this.

King George: Who is this cloven-hooved Rogers fellow? I like the cut of his jib.

(apologies to Charles Montgomery Burns)

2006-10-23 06:40:38
2.   wsporter
1 D'oh!
2006-10-23 07:04:50
3.   pistolpete
Contract with the devil? Nah, more like Easton:

2006-10-23 07:07:39
4.   Sliced Bread
3 I think it was barbeque sauce.
2006-10-23 07:38:13
5.   yogifan
4 has solved it. Bud needs to ban all pregame visits to Hometown Buffet.
2006-10-23 07:46:08
6.   Yankee Fan In Boston
5 ...kenny rogers' roasters?
2006-10-23 08:01:27
7.   jonnystrongleg
Kenny Rogers behavior reminds me of Roger Clemens in the 200 World Series. Two over-geeked pitchers providing non-sensical answers to post game questions re: their controversial early inning actions.

Obviously there are a lot of differences between the two, but the quality of Kenny's answers last night reminded me of Roger in 2000.

2006-10-23 08:07:02
8.   Simone
I have been kidding about Rogers' deal with the devil. The Tigers are just having a magical run like other playoffs teams before them. The players are feeding off each other and executing on the field.
2006-10-23 08:21:54
9.   wsporter
8 What do you mean you have been kidding? We have all taken that very seriously. ;-)
2006-10-23 08:31:47
10.   yankz
7 The 200 World Series? Sheesh, I didn't know he was that old... ;)
2006-10-23 09:06:12
11.   dianagramr

Steinbrenner, when Cashman tells him that Rogers isn't available to pitch for the Yankees, will tell Cashman ...
"well then get me his non-Union Mexican equivalent"

(more apologies to Monty Burns)

2006-10-23 09:07:29
12.   rbj
1, 11
2006-10-23 09:44:49
13.   Shaun P
11 Too bad the Boss didn't instead tell Cashman and Co "a shiny new donkey for whoever brings me the head" of Kenny Rogers.

(Further apologies to CMB, none to the Gambler - I'd rather Jeff Weaver get a Serious ring at this point.)

2006-10-23 10:19:52
14.   Chyll Will
6 Chili's. I saw him there with Evander Holyfield the night before. He also taught Kenny where to hide the sauce so it would look inconspicuous.
2006-10-23 10:22:02
15.   dianagramr

Paul Lukas of UniWatch seems to suggest that Rogers' cap might be of more concern than his hand.

2006-10-23 10:38:35
16.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i thought it was odd that he had a sandwich brim, i noticed that around the 7th or 8th inning, but i didn't even begin to consider the potential for shenanigans beneath said brim.

i also read one theory that larussa didn't have the umpires search rogers because he didn't want his own pitchers under such scrutiny... a glass house kind of situation.

anyone have any better ideas as to why he didn't have the umpires give kenny the airport security treatment?

(i don't buy the whole "tony and jim are friends" story. they both want to win this thing.)

2006-10-23 10:48:20
17.   JL25and3
I'm still having trouble making sense of all this.

If Rogers wanted to cheat, why would he use highly-visible brown gunk? There's no sticky clear gunk in the world?

Baseball players can pick up the spin on a pitch within a fraction of a second - hell, they can even see a balk when it happens. But the players, coaches and managers on two teams didn't see brown stains on the pitcher's hand, brown smudges on the baseball? Especially when Kenny Rogers is getting them out for the first time ever?

So I'm not taking it for granted that he was cheating. But if he was, well, he's just dipping into a time-honored bag of tricks. Never mind Gaylord Perry, for whom it was a mind game; Whitey Ford wouldn't have made the Hall of Fame without doctoring baseballs.

2006-10-23 10:52:50
18.   pistolpete
16 >> (i don't buy the whole "tony and jim are friends" story. they both want to win this thing.) >>

Why not? Seems acceptable to me that the two men are friends and have the utmost respect for each other. I imagine LaRussa and Leyland are attempting to trust each other to monitor their own players...

2006-10-23 10:56:12
19.   Yankee Fan In Boston
judging from a video montage on, oddly similar smudges have been showing up on mr. rogers' hand throughout the postseason.

that is what finally had me thinking he was junking up the ball. it just seems too coincidental otherwise.

that aside, he only gave up one other hit in the subsequent 7 innings.

...the jerk.

maybe this was just a way to get in hitters' heads. (using such a visible gunk on his hand.)

regardless the ancient one had a great night after the mark was gone, too.

(so does the cap hold the key to his postseason dominance?)

2006-10-23 10:57:10
20.   danl
Kenny Rogers * (Floyd Landis + Gaylord Perry) = greatest postseason pitcher ever
2006-10-23 10:59:15
21.   JL25and3
18 Doesn't make sense to me, either. I'd assume that they understand that friendship is for off the field. During the game, it's business - which means winning takes precedence over trust and respect.
2006-10-23 11:03:27
22.   Yankee Fan In Boston
it just doesn't ring true to me. i really have no basis to doubt it, but this is the world series, not some tuesday night game in may. if i was managing against my best friend in the whole world and his starting pitcher had a greasy dark substance on his pitching hand, i'd at least have the umpires look at his hand.

perhaps i am a terrible friend.

(this truly is a possibility.)

2006-10-23 11:06:43
23.   Comrade Al
20Kenny Rogers = Floyd Landis + Gaylord Perry.
2006-10-23 11:39:14
24.   Yankee Fan In Boston
18 21 22

i take it all back. perhaps their relationship transcends the rules of the game.

here is an excerpt from the following URL:

John Feinstein writes in Chapter 11: "Leyland and LaRussa" in Play Ball:

Now, the Load [ed: one of LaRussa's nicknames for his air of importance] was focused clearly on a game taking place two hundred miles away in Chicago, where the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs were locked in a 2-2 tie. Both managers had been LaRussa coaches: Jim Lefebvre of the Cubs remains a friend; Jim Leyland of the Pirates is LaRussa's soul mate. They talk about situations they have faced and decisions they have to make.

Whose soul mate isn't a chain-smoking older gentleman who enjoys wearing baseball spikes? The chapter goes on to read:

They were a strange-looking couple: LaRussa, tall and dark with the law school background; Leyland, shorter, his hair gone gray, with a tendency to fracture the language. Clearly, though, they spoke the same dialect when the topic was baseball. In a sport where machismo is considered at least as important as hitting a curveball, they weren't afraid to say they loved one another.

"...I can talk about Jim Leyland for hours, but there's only one thing that really matters: He's the best there is. Absolutely, the best," [said LaRussa}. "He's a perfect manager and a better guy. Now, if someone wants to make fun of that, let 'em."

(regardless, i would've checked rogers... he's kenny rogers, not johan santana... those numbers.... i am at a loss...)

2006-10-23 12:06:45
25.   pistolpete
24 So are you thinking what I'm thinking?

This Series goes 7 games, and ends in a tie, with both managers walking off in each others' arms.

2006-10-23 12:07:49
26.   Bama Yankee
If LaRussa did not have them check Rogers because of his friendship with Leyland, isn't it ironic that they can get along better as adversaries than some of our guys do as teammates?
2006-10-23 12:10:04
27.   Yankee Fan In Boston
not to dwell or anything, but a friend of mine just emailed me to say that there appeared to have been a dark spot on the left side of mr. rogers' hat beside the world series logo that he would leep going to between each pitch.

i love the drama.

i have not been able to locate any video to confirm this.

2006-10-23 12:12:40
28.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i pictured them holding hands, but yes.

a great (and simultaneously sad) point.

2006-10-23 12:14:33
29.   JL25and3
25, 28 Y'know, Louis...this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
2006-10-23 12:58:27
30.   Bama Yankee
Todd Jones was being interviewed on a local radio show down here last week (he lives in Alabama during the off season). He was asked how he handled pitching in the cold weather. His response was that it was no problem because they used pine tar to help them with their grip. He said the umps did not care because it helped the pitcher's control and kept them from hitting as many batters. Funny how Todd loaded the bases with a HBP last night after the Kenny Rogers "dirty" hand issue (maybe he was afraid of getting caught with the pine tar?)

My point is that maybe they did not make a bigger deal about it because several of the pitchers do it and Kenny was just too blatant (ESPN showed other games where the stain was there, just not as bad). After the TV cameras had spotted it, LaRussa just felt they could get into Kenny's head by making him wash his hand. But getting him tossed would open up a can of worms for both sides.

Why else would the umps just say "Kenny, wash that dirt off your hand". I suspect they knew what it was and did not want to have to eject him for it since others do the same thing.

Even John Kruk said that he did not care if pitchers used pine tar, because he felt like it would keep batters from getting hit. Maybe it is more common than we think to use pine tar or at least some kind of sticky substance (maybe others use something clear as pointed out earlier) to help with their grip during cold weather.

2006-10-23 13:07:19
31.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i would buy that theory as to why he wasn't searched before i bought the friendship story.

again, i don't know why.

2006-10-23 13:13:30
32.   Shaun P
Off topic for a moment, but I could not watch ESPN's coverage of this whole substance thing - not when I saw that, flanking Karl Ravitch, were John Kruk, Dusty Baker, AND Steve Phillips.

30 So many interesting questions. Do all pitchers do this in the postseason? Do the umps look the other way only if the game is outside in the cold? How cold does it have to be? Has Mo done this all these years? When did this start? Why hasn't this come up before? Why isn't this getting more play in the national media? Is some plucky investigative reporter looking into this, hoping to get a Pulitzer and a best-selling book out of it? Is Jones just an attention-mongering doofus? Isn't there a special mud applied to all balls, before the game, to help the pitchers grip the ball better? And isn't this cheating, much like, say, taking PEDs is cheating?

2006-10-23 14:12:45
33.   randym77
Wow. I never even noticed that there are different hats for BP.

Of course, I've never figured out why they have different jerseys for BP, either...

2006-10-23 14:23:33
34.   YankeeInMichigan
33 The only reason that I can figure out for batting practice jerseys, alternate jerseys, celebration caps, etc. is that there are some spoiled brats out there who convince their parents to buy them one of each.
2006-10-23 14:27:59
35.   das411
Time for an asterisk on all of Rogers's starts then! I mean, how in the world is it possible that a 41 year old who flamed out in the playoffs for both the Yankees AND Mets could possibly ever win another playoff game?

Anybody have an HD Fox-super-zoom broadcast of the perfect game he threw in 1994? Better go back and check that one out too, wouldn't want anybody to get away with anything...

2006-10-23 14:32:37
36.   Bama Yankee
33 Even though 34 probably has a point (money is ultimately behind most of these things). The following MLB rule might have something to do with it also:

"3.09 Players in uniform shall not address or mingle with spectators, nor sit in the stands before, during, or after a game. No manager, coach or player shall address any spectator before or during a game. Players of opposing teams shall not fraternize at any time while in uniform."

I remember reading it years ago and thinking it was strange that they did not let the players "fraternize" while in uniform. I guess the BP jerseys allow the players and coaches to talk to the opposition on the field before the game since they are not in uniform.

2006-10-23 15:03:41
37.   Peter
I actually like the Yankees BP jersey and I always thought it made sense to wear a different shirt for BP. It's a more relaxed and casual atmosphere, but when the pinstripes or road grays come on, it's time to get serious.

I'm not a fan of the alternate jerseys, road caps, etc. Pick a uniform and stick with it. It's things like this which make me appreciate the Yankees even more.

2006-10-23 15:21:16
38.   randym77
36 Interesting. So the BP jersey is "not in uniform"?

I kind of like the Yankees BP jersey, too. It looks nice, and it's more subtle than the pinstripes or the road grays.

It's crazy how many uniforms some teams have. The Pirates have a million of them. I always wonder how their players remember what uniform to wear when. And they've got those vest-style jerseys with the glittery undershirts they wear sometimes. The undershirts probably look nice in person, but you get a distracting moire effect on TV with those.

2006-10-23 15:26:44
39.   randym77
Hmmm. SI's got the dirt on Rogers:

2006-10-23 15:38:02
40.   Bama Yankee
39 Looks like he was going with the pine tar back in July also. So I guess it's not just for cold weather in Kenny's case...
2006-10-23 15:48:34
41.   Bama Yankee
32 Shaun P, I don't think that Todd Jones is "an attention-mongering doofus". He really is a good guy (from everything that I have heard). He is a regular on that radio show I mentioned earlier. He is a very humble guy who is thankful that he is in the Major Leagues.

BTW, he was on the radio show again today and said that he would "neither confirm nor deny" that Kenny was using pine tar. He did reiterate that a lot of pitchers use pine tar during cold weather and it is overlooked due to "professional courtesy" and the fact that it prevents the batters from being hit more often.

2006-10-23 18:10:53
42.   Shaun P
41 Bama, I am sure that Jones is humble and very thankful to be playing in the bigs. In fact, I used to enjoy reading his Sporting News column. However, I've had a hard time reconciling that Todd Jones with the one who made the comments in Colorado regarding if a big leaguer was to ever admit to being gay. Since then I've never seen him in the same way; the "aww-shucks" columns that used to entertain me now strike me as fake. Maybe its not far to call him an "attention-mongering doofus" for that. But then I read what he said about Jeff Weaver and I'm not sure he isn't.
2006-10-23 19:25:26
43.   Bama Yankee
42 I agree with you that the comments he made in Colorado were unfortunate and should not have been said. I'm also not sure about why he made the following Jeff Weaver comment:
"I am not a big advocate of his and I wasn't a big advocate of his when he was here.... He was a good pitcher who never really panned out here. Maybe he found a home in St. Louis, but there's no love lost here that he's gone."

That sounds like a G-rated version what most Yankee fans would say about Weaver.

Shaun, I really respect your opinions and enjoy your posts and that's why I just wanted to give you my take on Todd. From the countless interviews I've heard (and from people who know him personally) he really is more of the "aww-shucks" kind of guy that you read in the Sporting News column. He might even agree with you about the "doofus" part (especially after some of his public relations blunders). But I don't think he wants the attention and from all accounts he is really a likable guy.

Some people even unfairly compared Todd to John Rocker after his Colorado comments (speaking of "attention-mongering doofuses"). As you know the media seems to run with anything negative that they can to make headlines (ask A-Rod) and most of the good stuff that these guys do gets overlooked.

I guess being from the South sometimes causes people to paint us with a broad brush and I am a little sensitive to that. So please forgive me if I seem a little defensive.

2006-10-23 21:11:38
44.   Chyll Will
43 I wouldn't worry about it, Bama. We're all dumba#$es in the eyes of the Lord. Let me share with you my latest crackpot theory:

E@%$ and FOX are not quite happy with the matchup this year. Not that it really makes a difference because all ratings for the past sevral years have been lower than expected. So what happens? Somebody gets a little "dirt" on himself and BAM! Instant controversy (no pun intended)... people are buzzing about it and wondering why the umpires did nothing about it. Why? If they did, there'd be a short story about how someone very few people liked got his just desserts, but his team went on to win anyway.

With the possibility of good ol' fashioned cheating, something we haven't seen since Sammy loaded his BP bat with Superballs and thought no one would notice, it diverts our attention from what may be the real issue... is Rogers juiced? Somebody's making money hand over fist. Which controversy would Bud Selig rather have in the World Series right now?

Or, as Kenny Boy would likely say, Who are you gonna trust, me or your lyin' eyes?

2006-10-24 03:39:58
45.   randym77
"We're all dumbasses in the eyes of the lord"? LOL!

You know, I never even heard of the word "dumbass" until my sister went to Texas A&M.

Aggie joke:

Texas A&M was playing Princeton, so an Aggie was wandering around the Princeton campus, looking for the football field. Finally, he stops a passing Princeton student and asks, "Where's the game at?"

The Princeton guy replies, "Don't you know you're not supposed end a sentence with a preposition?"

"Okay. Where's the game at, dumbass?"

2006-10-24 06:34:52
46.   Shaun P
43 Bama, I totally understand where you are coming from, and I appreciate your comments. I guess Jones just rubs me the wrong way sometimes. I will do my best to keep an open mind about him. "Judge not, lest ye be judged, dumbass" and all that. ;)

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