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Thursday, April 05, 2007

MLB Investigating K-Rod For Ball Doctoring

There's already been a bunch of stuff following Derek Zumsteg's video accusations of K-Rod doctoring the ball. The Dallas Morning News and CBS Sportsline both have stories that MLB is now investigating this; the Rangers supposedly did not instigate this, even though two of the example frames were from games in the recent Texas series. K-Rod could face a 10-game suspension if the allegations prove true. More commentary on the original well-commented BTF thread and at Halos Heaven, as well as an inconclusive analysis at Chronicles.

Update: From DMZ's comment 57 on the original post:

You can in tonight’s game see that the white substance is well-established early in the inning before, as anyone argues, he starts hitting the rosin bag. I don’t understand how the cap picks up that kind of buildup that fast.

On sweat: I don’t understand how sweat would appear that way. When pitchers sweat through dark-colored hats, it appears darker, not as a white discoloration.

Clearly DMZ hasn't seen Eric Gagne's hat in-season, though I do agree that two days of the regular season isn't quite enough to get that much rosin on a cap; on the other hand, how many days has he worn the cap? Is it the same one he wore to spring training?

Update 2: David Pinto recalls the June 14, 2005 game in which Brendan Donnelly was ejected and eventually suspended for pine tar use, and asks

Is someone on the Angels staff encouraging this kind of thing? Scioscia comes from the Dodgers system, where legend has it this stuff was taught to everyone.
I wouldn't be too surprised if such "legend" were true, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were just the musings of bitter old hitters.

Update 3: Seitz also dissects the allegations:

And finally, I'm not trying to bust Derek's chops on this, but I think he reported this incredibly unprofessionally. That's fine, it's his blog. But for Christ's sake, the title of the post is "Francisco Rodriguez Doctoring the Ball". That doesn't leave you a lot of wiggle room in case the whole thing turns out to be fairly innocent. You'd think a guy who spent a lot of time wiping egg off of his face after announcing that Pete Rose had reached an agreement with Selig for reinstatement [$] might measure his words a little more carefully.
And therein lies a good bit of the problem. Not only does DMZ not mince words in his title, he opens himself to charges of not a little timely self-promotion. Seitz makes a number of suggestions in his post, including what I think is the most likely possibility, talc, based on a suggestion by Rob Neyer. This would have been less visible with the old gray-colored hat undersides, though the Angels used to use black hat undersides in 2002, so you'd think it would have been discovered in the postseason then. Of course, even talc would still be illegal, but it's hard to imagine how it would work to doctor the ball in a way that would affect its flight. Interestingly, DMZ has "spitballing" as one of the tags on his post; it's pretty clear that it's as far from that as you can get. What should we call it — dryballing?

Update 4: K-Rod says it's just rosin. Additional stuff from Matt Hurst's Press-Enterprise Angels blog.

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Um, if he was doctoring how can they prove it. And if he does it after all this heat he would deserve a suspension.
It's just talc that rubs off of his hand when he touches the brim of his hat. No biggie...
The big story in Texas is "Naked woman dives at car, stabs one in Plano," not "K-Rod doctors ball." It's only salt on Frankie's cap. This is a promotion to make those Frankie t-shirts they are giving away tonight at the Big A more valuable. Nothing happened to Kenny Rogers last October (that was NOT salt), and nothing will happen to K-Rod this April. Tonight's game will conclude with Halo fans waving their K-Rod shirts in the air as Frankie nails down the save.
It's too far out on the brim to be salt. I'm telling you it's talc.
What a bunch of nonsense. Apparently it never occurred to the conspiracy theorists that a resin bag is available in the bullpen while the pitcher is warming up. Nor does the person making these accusations bother to look at how many other pitchers routine touch the tip of their caps. It's a habit. I do it and I'm just a fan.
I was about to mention the fact that Frankie warms up in the bullpen before he enters the game.

This is all a bunch of horsebleep.

I can also state with 100% confidence that umpires routinely examine the actual baseballs thrown by Frankie on dozens if not hundreds of occasions. Why? Because so many of his sliders wind up in the dirt. The umps check the balls to see if they're OK to remain in play. This probably happens several times per outing. If there were any foreign substance on the balls, it would have been discovered a LONG time ago.

This is a complete non-story.
rosin nor resin
as in "rosin bag"
"On sweat: I don’t understand how sweat would appear that way. When pitchers sweat through dark-colored hats, it appears darker, not as a white discoloration." This is true only when the sweat is thouroughly moist, ie: when it first happens. Once it dries it turns to salt, which is white and stays white until the hat is washed, which everyone who has played a sport wearing a hat would recognize. Add rosin to sweat and it would stick that much better. White on white. Every hat I wore while playing baseball had a white looking mountain range across the bill from the sweat and I didn't play in front of millions.

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