I’m getting a kick over the to-do on Dirtgate, the did-he-or-did-he-not brouhaha over whether Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers’s left hand was decorated with dirt (legal) or some other sticky substance (illegal). From the moment Fox’s cameras brought the shady spot on Rogers’s left palm to our attention Sunday night, the whole thing had an air of the military’s policy on gay soldiers: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Now you see it…
Even though his players were telling him Rogers’s pitches were doing “funny” things, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa only mildly brought it to the attention to the umpires, who even more mildly checked Rogers’s hand – but not until word got to the pitcher after the first inning that he’s better soap down.
Talk to the Hand, says Rogers. to home-plate ump Alfonso Marquez
By the time the umps read Rogers’s palm in the second, his hands were clean enough to pass the peas. No Dirt, No Foul. Play ball. And he pitched brilliantly thereafter, leading the Tigers to a vital victory that tied the series, 1-1.
It was is everyone was wearing their good-of-the-game patch and decided not to make a big deal of it.
Nonetheless, the episode spells the end of the feel-good story of the postseason. At 41, Kenny Rogers was enjoying his own personal revival. He entered the playoffs with the highest ERA in postseason history, but has pitched 23 scoreless innings and emerged as the emotional leader and catalyst of the young Tigers’s renaissance.
Now, we know why.
The best clip of the series actually occurred today when someone asked La Russa if he believe that had indeed been dirt on his hands. La Russa paused and grinned, paused and grinned, paused and grinned. Finally he said, “I don’t think it was dirt.”
Kudos to him for being honest. Kudos to Fox for not dropping the story.
Now, let’s play ball.