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MLB Totally Cool With Substance Under K-Rod's Cap

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When an author of a book about cheating in baseball noticed Angel closer Francisco Rodriguez going to his cap an inordinate amount of times on Opening Day, he wrote about it on his blog and got photos, and his allegations against K-Rod made it to the front office of Major League Baseball. Where it died. Yesterday MLB called the Angels to tell them that there would be no investigation of K-Rod's cap because there was "nothing to investigate".

"Bob Watson called and said there's nothing to it, nothing to investigate," General Manager Bill Stoneman said, referring to the executive who handles discipline for MLB. "That was it. It was a short conversation." The commissioner's office received several e-mails Thursday about author Derek Zumsteg's blog, which posted a series of television stills showing a white substance under the bill of Rodriguez's cap and of the pitcher repeatedly tugging at his cap. - LAT 4/7/07

Baseball's decision must have relieved the reliever who seemed perturbed by Zumsteg's suspicion - that of a dominant closer constantly going to his hat that seems to be lined with white foreign matter. "It's easy for a guy sitting at his desk, watching television, to put pictures on the Internet," Rodriguez told reporters. "But I hope he has something better to do than to mess with people. He has no clue what he's writing about. I don't even know who he is."Because if a pitcher doesn't know who a writer is instantly makes those observations invalid? Ignorance really is bliss? Zumsteg, by the way is a longtime writer at Baseball Prospectus among other publications, and author of
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a book about cheating in baseball where he actually defends some cheaters so take it easy, K-Rod.

On his blog, Zumsteg says he understands why K-Rod showed animosity towards the writer. Who wouldn't? "He's thinking Comic Book Guy caught him. I'd be pissed about that. And he's certainly not going to go 'whoops! Some dude with an account got me!' So okay." But he also wonders aloud if we will start seeing players with cleaner uniforms or officials who aren't afraid to actually enforce the rules.

Meanwhile the Times reminds us of the last time an Angel reliever was busted for illegal substances on their person.

"I've had people ask me, because I touch my pants a lot, if I have anything in my pants," fellow reliever Scot Shields said. "It's a bunch of ..." Sometimes it's a bunch of pine tar. Former Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly was caught with that substance on his glove in 2005 and suspended for 10 games. Rodriguez said he is adjusting the bill of his cap more this season because he shed his signature goggles in favor of contacts this spring.

"Before, I used to adjust my glasses a lot," Rodriguez said. "I just do that normally. I don't see it as any big deal. I don't get it. What do I have to do, not touch any part of my body? It's not like rosin is going to make me throw harder." - LAT 4/6/07

Nobody ever said that substances on the ball make the ball go faster, K-Rod. How about this, if you're really doing everything in a kosher manner, how about just shut up instead of spreading falsities. If it was a hunk of rosin or pine tar or spit, the effect is the ball will move in unnatural ways. Just like how liars squirm unnaturally when they are being accused of something that could be right.Too bad MLB didn't want to start off the season with an official investigation into cheating and instead seem to be looking the other way. Although it is never good PR to announce that there's a cheater in the game, it's worse to allow cheating to continue and spread.

If the Angels and K-Rod truly have nothing to fear they should allow the cap to be analyzed by an impartial third party.

photo via The Cheater's Guide to Baseball