Did you see it? Did you feel the warm and fuzziness of it? Did it make you tingly? Were you overjoyed by the serenity of it? Were you … ultimately disgusted to the point where you felt nauseated?
I was too!
The World Series was about as intriguing as ice melting. It was a friendly pick-up game, a Lassie re-run, something straight from the Lifetime Channel, a Hallmark after-school special; it was popcorn without butter, Shakira with a slipped disc, money torn in half, a pool without water. And the icing on this hollow dud cake was the lovey-dovey friendship between Cardinals Manager Tony LaRussa and Tigers Manager Jim Leyland.
Their camaraderie was gut-churning.
When, early in Game 2, Detroit’s Kenny Rogers’ pitching hand looked as if he had just finished changing the motor oil in his car, LaRussa mentioned the discolored appendage to the umpire, who promptly asked the 42-year-old Rogers to wash his hands thoroughly (and brush your teeth while you’re at it!). Satisfied, LaRussa moseyed on back to the dugout.
That was it. Major League Baseball has strict rules for pitchers, and one is not having a foreign substance of any kind on their hands. LaRussa should have asked for Rogers to be ejected. Rogers should have been tossed. It doesn’t matter that he still went on to pitch nearly eight innings of shutout ball without the substance. Rogers was cheating, plain and simple. Photographs after Game 2 revealed the same looking substance on the veteran’s hand during the ALCS.
If it wasn’t the friendship between LaRussa and Leyland that kept the Cardinals manager from causing a stink, then I suspect LaRussa was protecting a vast MLB conspiracy. Pitchers around the league probably routinely put some sort of foreign substance on their hands before games, whether it be peanut butter, cooking oil, or urine (ewww!). I mean, how do we know Jon Garland doesn’t pour a soda can over his hands before he goes out to pitch?
But Smudge-gate is all said and done now, a piece of history from a lifeless series. The only real knee-buckling moment came in Game 3 when Tigers catcher Pudge Rodriguez took a foul ball off his mid-section. LaRussa and Leyland stopped hugging long enough to see if Pudge would survive (he did, after an attainable wild pitch scored a run).
With the games a petting zoo on the excitement-meter, Fox always had the option of showing celebrities in attendance. The pickings were slim. I hope I don’t offend St. Louis fans (which include my misguided uncles Ed, Tom and Jerry-they’re real) when I write that I’m not surprised Billy Bob Thornton is a life-long Cardinals fan. Jeff Foxworthy where were you?
I’m not insinuating that the players of a World Series must be arch-enemies or that good baseball is when someone is caught cheating. But let’s put a little Tabasco sauce on this thing next year. Friends should be foes between the lines.
Oh dear, Cubs fans beware, I just read that LaRussa and Lou Piniella were childhood buddies.
Tingly? I’m going to vomit.