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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

TARGATE
1. I have no idea what to make of Mike Scioscia's claim that pitchers using pine tar for grip is common practice.

2. Given the way he's pitched of late, if Brendan Donnelly's been cheating, he doesn't really grasp the concept.

3. I have no idea what to make of Frank Robinson's claim that Donnelly's shenanigans were spotted on video and not tipped off by Jose Guillen.

3A. Per Bill MacDonald on the FSN show after the game, the feeling in the Angel dugout was that Guillen had been the tipster. You know what that means, right? That Donnelly used pine tar in his glove going back to last season at the least. Otherwise, Guillen would not be in a position to know about it.

4. The fact that the ExpoNational pitcher actually did have an illegal glove that needed to be addressed was quite hilarious and appropriate, and Mike Scioscia is a hero.

5. I don't know if you've noticed this before, but Angel infielders, Darin Erstad in particular (as he's most often the one to catch the last out of an inning) make a point of removing the ball from play at the end of an inning. Ersty will wave the ball at the ump as if to say, "I'm removing this ball" and will take it to the dugout with him. Dallas McPherson did the same on a popup recently. I don't really notice other teams doing this, but that might just be because the Angel TV coverage focuses on the Angel players on the field. It always struck me as a little suspicious.

6. Honestly, how is it not Shields? How can a fastball move like that?

7. Frank Robinson further claims that Donnelly had sandpaper in his hand that he either put in his pocket or gave to Adam Kennedy. Once the umpires started huddling, Donnelly did walk over toward Kennedy, though the FSN coverage did not show if he actually walked up to Kennedy to exchange something or if he was just stumbling around. It seems like a specious claim, unless Donnelly has the power of teleportation. If he does have that power, it would seem that it is an underutilized part of his game.

8. The great thing about this is that a suspension of Donnelly will force Scioscia to use Peralta in Donnelly situations, and the Angels might well win more game because of that switch.

9. This all drowned out a very good start by Ervin Santana. The only real stain were the four walks, but almost all of those came late in the game as he clearly began to tire. The Nats did not make solid contact against him for almost the entire game, and seven strikeouts in six-and-a-third speak for themselves.

10. Will Bartolo plunk Guillen tonight just for fun? Colon is not against hitting batters in the back to make a point -- in fact, he did so last year against Tampa Bay in retaliation for Vlad having been hit, an instance conveniently omitted from Jose Guillen's memory when he went on his ill-advised and ill-informed rant last season about Angel pitchers not protecting their hitters.

Comments:
Nice post, much less rabid than others on this fine day.
 
I rabidly agree with all tenpoints of your post.
 
The best analysis of this disaster so far.
 
but Angel infielders, Darin Erstad in particular (as he's most often the one to catch the last out of an inning) make a point of removing the ball from play at the end of an inning.

Not even worth noting. The ball is removed from play every time it touches the dirt. Every slider that bounces to the plate is inspected, and 90% of them are removed. Any ball caught by Erstad for the final out has likely been on the ground as well, so it's natural an ump would remove it.

And Donnelly throws his fair share of balls in the dirt. If he was routinely doctoring the ball, it would show up every time the ump inspected a ball in the dirt.
 
I think there are more than a few people around MLB that find it easier to pick on a guy who was once a replacement player and to this day is still excluded from the union. (The only one to ever be the winning pitcher in an All-Star game, if I recall correctly.) Even if he IS cheating, as inconsistent as he's been lately, what manager would rather see Sheilds for two more outs than Donnelly anyway? If the situation hadn't gotten out of hand, the Nats wouldn't have gotten so fired up, the Angels would't have gotten rattled, Angels win 3-1, and the whole thing would have backfired on Robinson. If I were Mike I would have checked the pine tar Guillen's bat after the home run. Since maybe half the guys on any given team have it well past the 17" mark anyway, why not. Imagine that scene. Guillen going George Brett times a thousand! That meltdown would eclipse an entire decade of Lou Pinella's finest freakouts! It's only a matter of time before the Nats hit a rough streak, lose a few games, and Guillen turns his seemingly endless supply of anger against his own team. They may be cheering in DC now, but they were cheering in Anaheim this time last year too.
 
Re:#5.... This is something ALL teams do. I have season tickets a few rows behind the visitiors dugout, and rare is the occassion when a visiting player WON'T toss the ball into the stands on their way off the field after the third out of every inning.

They will usually seek out a kid or a fan wearing one of their team's jersey.

I've seen it happen in other ballparks as well.... pretty standard practice....the player tosses the ball, and then is thrown another ball from someone in his dugout. Nothing conspiratorial here.
 
7. Frank Robinson further claims that Donnelly had sandpaper in his hand that he either put in his pocket or gave to Adam Kennedy. Once the umpires started huddling, Donnelly did walk over toward Kennedy, though the FSN coverage did not show if he actually walked up to Kennedy to exchange something or if he was just stumbling around.

I had a good view of this, and my recollection was that Donnelly stood apart from everyone, hands on hips,looking lost, while the inspection was going on. Then he stared long and hard into the visitor's dugout. He did not approach (as in get in close physical prozimity of) or talk to anyone, just stood out and alone. But I'm not saying my memory or view were perfect.
 
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