Bartender Banter: Free Kenny!

With Dallas playing on Monday Night Football, ESPN almost had nothing to blather on about today. But then Fox and there super-ultra zoom cameras caught Kenny's poo-stained hand. But what was it? Pine tar? A mixture of dirt and rosin? Or did Kenny not wipe very well? We will never know. What we do know is that the Cardinals may have been better off had Kenny left the poo-tar-dirt on his throwing hand. After Rogers washed it off he came out for the second inning and proceeded to mow down the Redbirds, including 6 straight hitless innings.

But now, every Kenny hater out there in the media has locked on to his potential "cheating". No way that a 41 year old pitcher that has a history of playing horribly in the postseason could miraculously put together one of the best playoff runs in recent memory. He had to be doing something illegal, right? Nevermind that if Rogers was a Yankee or Red Sox it would be the greatest story in postseason history. We wouldn't dare question how a Boston or New York pitcher suddenly had a great postseason. I guess my question is, if Rogers did in fact have an illegal substance on his hand, then why didn't LaRussa call for the ump to search Rogers? If he could have been thrown out of the game, why didn't LaRussa do it?

Then you have the discrepancies in everybody's story of what happened. Given what everyone has said, my guess is that Rogers was told to clean his hand off by the umpire and he did at the end of the inning. Rogers initially denied it, but given his standoff-ish personality, maybe his denial was some sort of kneejerk reaction he has. He obviously isn't the most open or candid guy with the media.

So Kenny had a dirty hand for one inning in that he walked Pujols and gave up a line drive to Rolen. He then washes his hand, and pitches another 7 shutout innings. But suddenly that one inning is going tarnish his performance this postseason? Whatever. The managers don't seem concerned, the players don't seem concerned, and Kenny certainly doesn't seem concerned. Let's just hope T.O. punches Parcells in the face tonight and ESPN can shut up about this ordeal and waste their time with an even more unlikeable athlete.

I do have one other beef about this whole thing. It appears that the press hasn't quite settled on a name for it. I've read some calling it "dirtgate", while others call it "smudgegate". I love the originality of it all. Let's take a word and add 'gate' on the end. No one has ever done that before. I have to say though, nothing will beat Kazuhito Tadano and "sodomy-gate".

OK, one final thing and I'll shut up about it. I think the worst fallout of this mess will definitely be that FOX can now actually justify their horrible zoom-in camera shots they do in the postseason. Nobody wants to see any pitcher's face so close up that you can count his nosehairs and how many whiteheads he has. Yeesh, I'm just happy that my poor ass still can't afford an HDTV set. Seeing Chris Carpenter's face up close on my regular set is bad enough that I keep breaking out in hives.

Sweet Lou? Sweet Jesus!
Reporting about a week late on this, Lou Piniella is the new manager of the Cubs. Better hide your wallets! I guess ambivalent is probably the best word to describe my thoughts on the move. I think his fiery personality will hopefully spark the Cubs a bit, and weed out the whiners that seemed to enjoy not being pushed by Dusty. But on the other hand I have this feeling that Lou will completely melt down at some point and will either get fired or quit on them. The Cubs put together back-to-back winning season in 2003 and 2004. The last time they did that, Ron Santo was playing third base. Looking at that I'd say the odds are stacked against Lou that he can have multiple winning seasons with this franchise. If they continue to tank, how patient is he really going to be?

ABC Loves the Wolverines
I was all pumped to watch the Iowa-Michigan game on ABC this week, but was saddened to see that instead of a national broadcast, they apparently opted to air a local Michigan broadcast instead. How else can you explain Bob Griese being in the booth? Jesus, could we get Desmond Howard in there to do play-by-play as well? I loved how Bob forced an inordinate amount of praise towards the Hawkeyes, even though they were lame blanket statements like, "Iowa seems to be driving the ball well here." Even worse was when son Brian came into the booth. Bob then proceeded to ask him questions like it was an interview, which came off incredibly awkward. He's your son Bob, yet you ask him questions like you don't already know the answer? It was just very strange to watch. Yet the best question wasn't asked, which would've been, "Brian, do you credit the Bears red hot 6-0 start to the fact that you have barely sniffed the field this season?"

And don't let this seem like I'm totally shitting on Michigan. While I cheer for the Hawkeyes, I'm not going to deny the fact that the Wolverines flat out beat them. Mike Hart and company were clearly the better team here. And while I'd much rather drink acid than cheer for them, I will be pulling for UM when they face the Buckeyes.

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