Why Jack Morris' accusation doesn't stand up to the evidence.
As you’ve probably heard, pitcher-turned-commentator Jack Morris has accused Red Sox hurler Clay Buchholz of throwing pitches with illegal substances on his hand during his start on Wednesday against Toronto. Buchholz, his manager, and his catchers have taken turns explaining that that’s a ridiculous proposition.
The Rays reliever is caught with something extra in his glove.
Joel Peralta entered tonight’s Rays-Nationals game with his usual assignment: Get the next three outs, keep the lead, and hand the ball over to Fernando Rodney. After Peralta finished warming up, the umpires would swarm the mound with a request to see his glove. Peralta complied, and would shortly thereafter head to the clubhouse gloveless and ejected, but not before tugging at his cap while facing the Nationals bench. The umpires had found what they deemed to be a significant amount of pine tar on Peralta’s glove.
Was Jose Valverde cheating when he faced the Reds this weekend? If he was, his excuse ranks up there with the best of them.
Baseball history is full of cheaters who excelled at their craft. I'm not talking about PED users, for the most part. I'm talking about guys who scuffed baseballs, stole signs, corked bats, and threw games. And the vast majority of these men were never caught, though some, like Whitey Ford and Gaylord Perry, were happy to brag about getting away with it for decades.
But thankfully, baseball is also full of cheaters who were absolutely terrible at cheating, get caught easily, and then make terrible excuses none of us believe. It is into this latter camp, gratefully, that Jose Valverde might fall. Valverde, as most of the baseball-loving world knows by now, appeared to spit into his glove during the ninth inning against the Reds. The video was posted online, and later tweeted about by Dallas Latos, the wife of Reds pitcher Mat Latos.
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Exploring the origins of baseball's unique moral burden, with an assist from Diderot and Jacques Barzun.
Poor baseball. These two words keep running through my mind lately, the way a line from a song gets stuck in your head. Poor baseball. Poor baseball. Oh, pity poor baseball.
It is our beast of burden. We ask the sport to do so much work for us, and when it fails, we beat it mercilessly, often until we are beating ourselves. That is because the work we ask baseball to do is moral, and the punishment for doing it poorly or not at all is severe.
David Eckstein gets the clutch tag for the rest of his natural life, Gary Sheffield's not a happy little baseball player, plus the ins and outs of a new collective bargaining agreement.
"To me, what separates David is his stature. He's not especially big and especially strong, and he gets beat up. And if you're bigger and stronger, maybe it still hurts, but you have a chance to deal with the blows a little more. And he is just a man of iron. I look at ways guys slide into him and the way they beat him up and everything else he does and the way he responds, (and) I think he's the toughest guy I've ever seen."
--Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, on World Series MVP David Eckstein
Before heading to St. Louis, Nate checks in with notes on Kenny Rogers' success at home, and the suspicions raised about how he does it.
Think this through for a moment. Suppose that Rogers is cheating. Why would he only cheat at home? The usual ingredients that one uses to scuff a pitch are dirt, rosin, and spit. Maybe pine tar. Last I checked, those items are as readily available in Yankee Stadium or Network Associates Coliseum as they are in Detroit.
Kenny Rogers continues to rewrite the narrative of his career, but do we know the entire story?
Rogers has made three starts this October, and they've all been basically the same. He had better command in his ALDS start against the Yankees than he's had since, but other than that, he's been doing what Tommy John class pitchers do: throw strikes, get ahead, keep the ball down, kill the running game. (He's also started channeling Carlos Zambrano a little bit, a trait that somehow hasn't brought the media down around his head. I'm not sure why it's OK for him to show people up, but it seems to be approved.)
Jim looks at a group of five-game sweeps in history, wonders about Ozzie Guillen's latest tirade, and pays tribute to a weakened National League.
Any lingering doubts Tigers fans may have had about their team fading down the stretch were put to rest when Detroit acquired Neifi Perez from the Cubs. We learn, once again, that a veteran player is always preferable to someone within an organization or someone from another organization that might be stuck there. Players with career EqAs of .219 don't grow on trees, you know.