Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Smeargate

In the wake of all of the nonsense swirling around the schmutz on Kenny Rogers' hand, one can only assume it's a matter of time before Dan Patrick accuses his rosin bag of using steroids. This is manufactured outrage. Throughout baseball history, there has always been a wink at the doctorer of baseballs, with disapproval reserved for those who were incompetent enough to get caught. It's the sort of low-grade gamesmanship that a sharp-eyed batter has a chance of spotting and stopping, not a chemical enhancement that works on the molecular level, and as such has always been considered part of the game. We canonize Gaylord Perry and castigate Rick Honeycutt, not because of what they did to the ball, but because of how they succeeded or failed with it.

If Cameratosser Kenny was using gunk obvious enough for the TV to spot it, it's up to the Cardinals to say something and alleviate that advantage. They certainly had access to the information. The distraught hand-wringing in the media is a tempest in a teapot, false controversy designed either to stir up ratings or do that self-hating thing baseball writers do and focus solely on the bad.

Incidentally, did anyone calling for Barry Bonds' head notice that Chargers LB Shawne Merriman, the subject of recent hagiographic profiles in ESPN and The Sporting News, got nailed for steroids? But at least he didn't use pine tar.
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