What Some People Will Do to Sell a Book
A writer is trying to promote his book by claiming that Francisco Rodriguez doctors the ball.
An early candidate for biggest non-story of 2007 is an allegation by a book author named Derek Zumsteg that Francisco Rodriguez doctors the ball when he pitches.
His so-called “evidence” is a white substance he claims to have discovered on the ball of Frankie’s cap. He posted screen captures from a recent pitching performance by Rodriguez to support his claim.
Just how dumb does Zumsteg think we are?!
Let’s see, what white powder might a pitcher be around as a matter of course … The rosin bag. Duh.
Not only is there a rosin bag on the mound, but there’s also one in the bullpen for when a pitcher warms up.
I noticed on tonight’s Angels telecast that starting pitcher Joe Saunders had white smudges on the bill of his cap when he pitched in the first inning. Oooh, the conspiracy widens.
This might also be the first time since the spitball was banned that a pitcher would use a substance that an umpire could actually see, instead of the far more popular transparent substances such as Vaseline.
Nor does Zumsteg explain how this white powdery substance could be somehow employed to alter the movement of a pitch.
Always on the prowl, Riverside Press-Enterprise reporter Matt Hurst approached Frankie before tonight’s game to ask him about the allegation:
I talked to Francisco Rodriguez about this white substance on the underside of his bill and he grabbed the hat from his locker, flipped it over and said "This?"
On the black underside of his cap was a sizable white smudge.
"It’s rosin," Rodriguez said.
There is a rosin bag on the back of every mound in professional baseball filled with the white, chalky substance that pitcher’s can use on their hands to eliminate sweat so they can better grip the ball. John Lackey, for instance, puts it on his left wrist, just above his glove, so he can wipe his right hand on the wrist instead of constantly going to the rosin bag.
So, why does Rodriguez continually tug on his cap, bringing suspicion about?
Because he stopped wearing his trademark goggles, he fidgets with his hat instead of his glasses.
End of story. Or it should be.
I’d thought about buying Zumsteg’s book, but now I won’t put a penny into this man’s pocket.
Meanwhile, I’m going to watch the Zapruder film again to see if I can spot Frankie anywhere on the Grassy Knoll …
UPDATE April 6, 2007 8:30 AM PDT — The non-story is duly reported in the local papers, giving Zumsteg more undeserved publicity:
Los Angeles Times: "Rodriguez Rebuts Furor with Chalk Talk". (To quote author Mike DiGiovanna, "It’s the rosin, stupid.")
Orange County Register: "Accusation Against Rodriguez Reviewed"
Riverside Press-Enterprise: "Rodriguez: It’s Rosin"
MLB.com: Get a Grip, Says K-Rod
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