Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baseball Cheats

For years, fans and commentators have been bemoaning the fact that baseball stats have been skewed by steroids.* The benchmarks that were honestly set by greats like Babe Ruth and Roger Maris have been raised with chemical assistance by famous scofflaws who shall remain nameless due to the risk of enhancing their unearned fame.

I watched a couple of Yankee v. Angels games in the last couple of days and I swear I was thinking about pitchers cheating at baseball. I was recalling that in the good old days, maybe it was the domain of the pitchers to cheat. Lots of famously successful pitchers were also famous for concealing a small reserve of Vaseline in their gloves, or spitting on the ball, or scuffing the ball with a bit of sandpaper, or cutting it, any of which techniques increase the movement of the ball, giving the pitcher more of an advantage over the batter. I wondered if the pitchers had gotten religion while the hitters were losing theirs.

So today, I see a video of Mariano Rivera spitting on the ball. Nothing new under the sun, as they say. Whitey Ford (a “spitter”) would be proud.

*Corked bats notwithstanding. That era seemed to come and go pretty fast. Too many embarrassing, explosive equipment failures, no doubt.


Anonymous said...

. . . but Mr. Fred! they now use up to 300 balls for one game! The pitcher barely has time to find the seams on one before being thrown another . . .


fred c said...

All you need is one slick spot, and it works like a charm, flies like a knuckleball.