Thursday, April 05, 2007

Frankie Update - er, Updated

Frankie Responds to Matt Hurst of the Press Enterprise (yay, Riverside!):
I talked to Francisco Rodriguez about this white substance on the underside of his bill and he grabbed the hat from his locker, flipped it over and said "This?"
On the black underside of his cap was a sizable white smudge.
"It's rosin," Rodriguez said.
There is a rosin bag on the back of every mound in professional baseball filled with the white, chalky substance that pitcher's can use on their hands to eliminate sweat so they can better grip the ball. John Lackey, for instance, puts it on his left wrist, just above his glove, so he can wipe his right hand on the wrist instead of constantly going to the rosin bag.
So, why does Rodriguez continually tug on his cap, bringing suspicion about?
Because he stopped wearing his trademark goggles, he fidgets with his hat instead of his glasses.
More on MLB.Com.
The Angels had a two-word response to Internet posted allegations of doctoring baseballs by closer Francisco Rodriguez in two games this week against the Texas Rangers.

"It's resin," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

"It's the same stuff I've had since I was called up [in 2002]," Rodriguez said, showing his cap to a pair of reporters at his locker to show the resin residue on its bill. "A lot of pitchers use it. They rub it on their pants and use it when they need it. I have it on my cap. You can see it in all the pictures; it's there.
As for Derek, well, this is pretty weak stuff:

Rosin is a foreign substance, same as pine tar. Now, players have pine tar on their helmets and uniforms, and that goes unenforced. But this is where they might take action: it’s clear that there was something on his cap, whether they find evidence that it was applied to the ball at any point. But it seems like it’s a lot more likely that the most dramatic action they’d take is a warning.

Part of this is political: if the league takes action on something that’s perceived as coming from the internet, MLB might see it as opening the floodgates for every fan to start making rules complaints, and there’s no way they want that.

Umm, Derek, I like you, but seriously, get the fuck over yourself. They aren't going to refrain from taking action because it came from the internet. They aren't taking action because there's no there there. It's fucking rosin. Do you think they walk out there and inspect the hands of every pitcher after he drops the bag to make sure that no specks remain on his hands before he grabs the ball? Fucking A, I'm sure there are trace amounts of rosin on EVERY ball. It's one thing to have pine tar on your hands as a pitcher. It's a whole 'nother thing to have the same exact crap they put on every mound SPECIFICALLY FOR A PITCHER TO HANDLE on your hands, or hat, or glove, or any other part of your body.

Seriously, that last paragraph is probably the dumbest thing I've ever read, and it reeks of CYA because I think Derek is smarter than that. But that's what happens when you have to defend a post entitled "Francisco Rodriguez Doctoring the Ball."

Anonymous in the comments asserts:
um... even if it is rosin...
The he quotes rule 8.02(a). You can read it yourself in the comments.

I'm quite aware of that rule. I already linked to that rule in the previous post. That's why I called loading up a hat with rosin technically illegal. And it's the foundation atop which Zumsteg builds his entire argument. And it's stupid.

Ya know, it's also technically illegal to have your back foot out of the batters box, and there's such a thing as a catcher's balk. Show me the last time they were ever enforced.

They put a freaking bag of the stuff on the goddamn mound, fer chrissakes. This isn't like glue. It isn't like pine tar. This isn't like vaseline. It's stuff they put on the mound for the use of every pitcher in every professional baseball game. When they start putting a pine tar rag or a tube of super glue on the mound, I'll treat those the same way.

But if you're a real crusader, I expect to see you out there with a pitchfork demanding that the umpires make pitchers wash their hands between pitches, lest they get dirt on the ball.


Anonymous said...

um... even if it is rosin...

Rule 8.02(a) Comment: If at any time the ball hits the rosin bag it is in play. In the case of rain or wet field, the umpire may instruct the pitcher to carry the rosin bag in his hip pocket. A pitcher may use the rosin bag for the purpose of applying rosin to his bare hand or hands. Neither the pitcher nor any other player shall dust the ball with the rosin bag; neither shall the pitcher nor any other player be permitted to apply rosin from the bag to his glove or dust any part of his uniform with the rosin bag.

Anonymous said...

He didn't "dust his uniform" with the rosin bag, though. Unless you want K-Rod to wash his hands with soap and water, and then dry them with a towel between every pitch, there's gonna be rosin on his hands, and it's gonna transfer to his uniform, period. If you touch something that is dusty, that they let you touch, then touch your hat, it'll end up on your hat. There's no rule against that, especially if not done with any intention. If you want to have THAT picky an interpretation to the rule, then you're telling pitchers they're better off never touching the rosin bag again.

Good piece, and a good, brisk read, Seitz. But you're going too easy on Derek ;).


Anonymous said...

A brief thought: the main thesis of Cheater's Guide as I understand it is that cheating has always been a major part of baseball and that that is a good thing. So, his pointing out that it's illegal to intentionally have any substance, including rosin, on your hat maybe a little ticky tack, but I don't think he's necessarily calling for a suspension or anything. I for one don't buy that it's just residue from his hands. It seems to me like a strange way for it to build up, but it doesn't probably matter much one way or the other.

I think the real thing is that, he's not convinced it's rosin, and I don't know one way or the other. But I don't think his comment about it being perceived to have come from the internet is particularly self-aggrandizing. I think it has more to do with the antipathy between baseball and the internet, which seems pretty well established by now.

So anyway, I appreciate this read of it, and I think you're right that it's probably no big deal. But I definitely disagree with the above commenter for saying you're going to easy on Derek. It's not like he was yelling and screaming about it; it seemed to me like he only pointed it out as a point of interest, rather than something for people to freak out about.


Seitz said...

Well, if Derek's not convinced it's rosin, then he's never going to believe it without lab tests. Everyone on the Angels has said it's rosin. The reporters who saw it said it was rosin. And now MLB has said it's rosin. I'm not quite sure what else he needs.

Whether I'm being too hard on him probably doesn't matter in the long run. I'm sure Derek couldn't care less what I have to say about him. And my problem wasn't with any perceived "yelling and screaming", but rather the fact that he presented it as a lead pipe cinch that Frankie was cheating. Not that he had a suspicious substance on his hat, and not that he had suspicious mannerisms, but that he was, without a doubt, doctoring the ball. I think that's pretty unprofessional, and as I said before, I would have hoped that someone who had been through his experiences might have learned from them.

I think the comment was partly self aggrandizing, and I think it was partly (mostly?) CYA. It reeked of "nothing is going to happen, but I'm still right", which is crap, in my opinion.

This is going to blow over, and no one is going to care, and whether he was trying to or not (and I don't think he was), he's probably going to sell more books.