SmudgeGate: Did The Gambler Cheat to Win?

Rogers has Cards in hand / Smudge raises questions; lefty extends streak. I'm sure the Cards fans are ready to draw and quarter Kenny Rogers for what looked like pine tar on his palm in the first inning against the Cardinals the other day in Game Two of the World Series with the Tigers.

And, to be sure, I can fully understand their sentiment. Cheating in the World Series is among the worst offenses a player can commit within the confines of the sport. Look how strongly fans feel about performance enhancing drugs in the sport. Look how much of a hit Sammy Sosa's legacy took when he got caught using a corked bat (dumbass!) or when Rafael Palmiero tested positive for steroids after he swore up and down to the congressional committee that he was clean.

No matter the outcome, the Series is tainted now. But let's look at the game from a few more steps back. Rogers pitched 8 innings of 3 hit ball. Even if he did have pine tar on his hand in the first inning, it was gone by the second and he pretty well absolutely dominated the Cards. That doesn't dismiss the allegations of cheating but it should diminish them considerably. The smudge was there in the first and gone by the second and he rolled right through the Cards.

Now, it is possible that there was a pyschological effect of thinking Rogers was cheating and it may have helped him dominate the Cards. But that's neither here nor there. The reality is that the umpires should have swiftly stepped in to quell any allegations or to find out if Rogers was, in fact, cheating by using pine tar to add some extra bite to his curve ball. They didn't, Rogers kept going and the Cards ended up going down 3-1 to even the series.

Another thought I just had. Wasn't Bud Selig or some of the other high ranking MLB officials at the game? Why didn't they immediately call an investigation into the matter? Why not recover some of the balls Rogers pitched and see what they looked like? The inaction looks bad, smears the Series and further drags baseball into the cheating sports gutter. And that sucks.

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