Jay wrote on Thursday about the recent events surrounding Kenny Rogers (that’s the pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, not the singer). Rogers pitched and won game 2 of the World Series last Sunday. After the first inning, the umpire apparently asked him to wash a smudge of something off his hand and Rogers complied. The substance appears to have been pine tar, which many pitchers use to improve their grip on the ball. While the use of pine tar for this purpose is technically a violation of the rules, umpires have been looking the other way for years, since it is not used to alter the flight path of the ball. It is probable that pitchers for both the Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals are using or have used pine tar for this very purpose. It is worth noting that even after washing his hand, Rogers tossed seven more scoreless innings before being removed from the game. The story was discussed quite a bit on sports talk radio for the next day or so before everyone moved on.
Everyone, that is, except Jay Mariotti. He used his column today to decry this ignoring of the rules, this undermining of the grand old game. He wrote of the dark complicity of the Commissioner’s office in their ignoring of this egregious scandal. On and on he went, linking this to every ill associated with major league baseball. Oh, thank God we have Jay as our conscience in these amoral times!
I’d had enough. I had to write a letter to the editor about this. I e-mailed it to the Sun-Times this afternoon. I have no expectation that they will print it, but I felt better for writing it, and since you’re not likely to see it in print anywhere else, I herewith offer the complete text for your edification:
Jay Mariotti talks about the “national furor” surrounding baseball’s handling of the Kenny Rogers “smudge” incident. It may be a national furor in Jay’s dreams, but here in the real world, it isn’t causing much of a stir. In an informal survey of about half a dozen fellow baseball fans, I found the number of people who considered it worth a second thought to be a total of zero. None. This is classic Mariotti, making a show out of taking the moral high ground, speaking for we honest citizens who don’t have newspaper columns. Well, Jay, you’re not speaking for us. You’re speaking for an audience of your own imagining, which is to say, an audience that values your opinion.