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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cheater’s Guide Blog: Francisco Rodriguez doctoring the ball

Compare the movement on those pitches to the movement on the fastballs where he clearly doesn’t go to the hat brim.

Also, watching the video, it’s a lot more striking than stills convey — it’s clearly not a cap adjustment, but something else entirely. He grabs the front of the cap and then rubs his thumb on the underside of the cap, picking whatever it us up. On the video, it’s quite striking.

Tony H. Posted: April 05, 2007 at 12:20 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels

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   1. jamcadbury Posted: April 05, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2325251)
I posted a video and some more pictures of the incident over at Baseball Time in Arlington.

As far as I know, it's the only public video evidence right now.
   2. WillYoung Posted: April 05, 2007 at 01:31 AM (#2325287)
That's some damn good policework there, Lou.
   3. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 05, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2325308)
I think they should make it legal for pitchers to doctor the ball.
   4. Kiko Sakata Posted: April 05, 2007 at 01:43 AM (#2325322)
I think they should make it legal for pitchers to doctor the ball.

I agree.
   5. andrewberg Posted: April 05, 2007 at 02:02 AM (#2325386)
It is somewhat conspicuous the way he holds his hand off to the side every time he touches his hat.
   6. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: April 05, 2007 at 02:27 AM (#2325453)
He should have his caps taken away.
   7. Marty Winn Posted: April 05, 2007 at 03:07 AM (#2325553)
I think there is a good posibility that this is sweat. If you have ever gotten really sweaty in a shirt or hat and then let it dry you will get salt rings where the sweat was. Do that over and over again in a hat and you can get a lot of salt there. Also the sweat would tend to radiate out from the head meaning the wet/dark area would be closest to the head and the dry salt would remain near the edge. I’m just saying that it is a possible solution.
   8. jamcadbury Posted: April 05, 2007 at 03:23 AM (#2325582)
Marty, I think the biggest problem with that theory is that if you look closely at the high-res video, right after GMJ's catch, and you replay K-Rod's head moving, it seems that whatever there is something shiny. Knowing the material and consistency of a ballcap, it is literally impossible for sweat to have created such an effect, unless he was absolutely sweating buckets and the cap was drenched. I don't buy that it's salt - K-Rod's actions seem awfully suspicious.

I mean, I guess it's feasible, but I really find that unlikely. Zumsteg notes the additional movement on the pitches where he does the "thing" - I find it hard to work around that discrepancy.
   9. Darren Posted: April 05, 2007 at 03:49 AM (#2325629)
If he is going to his hat for some foreign substance, he's being really, really obvious about it.

K-Rod's also been getting great movement on his pitches for a long time now. It should be pretty easy to go back and look to see if he's doing something like this every time. Not that that would prove or disprove anything.
   10. WillYoung Posted: April 05, 2007 at 04:10 AM (#2325646)
K-Rod's also been getting great movement on his pitches for a long time now. It should be pretty easy to go back and look to see if he's doing something like this every time. Not that that would prove or disprove anything.

But with the lighter underbill, any substance might be more difficult to detect on video or picture.
   11. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: April 05, 2007 at 04:21 AM (#2325650)
"K-Rod" is the worst nickname in baseball. He should be suspended for that.
   12. Darren Posted: April 05, 2007 at 04:39 AM (#2325660)
But it would be easy to see if he was doing that very slight tug.
   13. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: April 05, 2007 at 04:51 AM (#2325665)
"K-Rod" is the worst nickname in baseball. He should be suspended for that.


"K-rod" is a bad nickname, but it's not the worst. It at least has the redeeming quality of describing a skill that Frankie Rodriguez possesses. That puts "K-Rod" in the Dice-K, Prince Albert and King Felix group of somewhat descriptive, but banal nicknames. The worst nicknames are completely undescriptive ones like A-Rod, D Lee, etc.

The Dice-K nickname is disappointing, but I guess it was inevitable. I'd have preferred the inaccurate, but interesting sounding "GyroMonster." I would have also accepted nicknames such as The Monster, Tiger Beat (I wouldn't mind this one catching on for anyone who starts plays at the highest level as a teenager), Dr. Inscrutable, Johnny Streamline or Bullet Train.
   14. Halofan Posted: April 05, 2007 at 05:13 AM (#2325668)
Most (70-30) Angel fans call him Frankie.
   15. robneyer Posted: April 05, 2007 at 06:36 AM (#2325674)
I just blogged DMZ's revelation, and my guess is that Rodriguez is that we're seeing chalk or talcum on his fingers. -r
   16. Honkie Kong Posted: April 05, 2007 at 06:38 AM (#2325675)
This is not new for the Angels pen.
There was the Donnelly episode, though that was eclipsed by the Guillen-Sciosia showdown
   17. robneyer Posted: April 05, 2007 at 06:42 AM (#2325676)
I totally blew that post. This is what DVR does to the small-minded; suddenly I can't focus on what I'm typing. Anyway, it was supposed to read something like this: My guess is that we're seeing chalk or talcum on the bill of his cap." Which he's using to keep his fingers dry.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: April 05, 2007 at 06:51 AM (#2325677)
Or look at it the other way ... he's tipping his pitches. :-)
   19. We don't have dahlians at the Palace of Wisdom Posted: April 05, 2007 at 06:56 AM (#2325681)
It at least has the redeeming quality of describing a skill that Frankie Rodriguez possesses. That puts "K-Rod" in the Dice-K, Prince Albert and King Felix group of somewhat descriptive, but banal nicknames.

When did Pujols and Hernandez pick up the artful skills of the nobility?
   20. JC Posted: April 05, 2007 at 07:49 AM (#2325682)
I think they should make it legal for pitchers to doctor the ball.


Might as well let everyone throw games then.
   21. Squash Posted: April 05, 2007 at 08:14 AM (#2325684)
I totally blew that post. This is what DVR does to the small-minded; suddenly I can't focus on what I'm typing. Anyway, it was supposed to read something like this: My guess is that we're seeing chalk or talcum on the bill of his cap." Which he's using to keep his fingers dry.

Sticky fingers are better if you're looking for movement.
   22. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: April 05, 2007 at 08:55 AM (#2325687)
I'm not seeing the cheating. Especially with Rodriguez's slider, he'd want sticky on his forefinger and middle finger. From the video, he's going to the suspect part of his cap with his thumb. And as Darren points out, K-Rod's also been getting great movement on his pitches for a long time now.
   23. 44magnum Posted: April 05, 2007 at 12:20 PM (#2325706)
I can't back this up, but if there are indeed a number of pitchers that doctor the ball, I think players and managers are abiding (usually) by some unwritten rule to not call each other on this or we'd see a lot more demands to inspect the ball/pitchers caps. I also think a lot of hitters don't want to venture into that kind of mindset at the plate. Worrying about a pitcher doctoring the ball would pretty much mean a hitter was beat before the 1st pitch to him, right?

Also, the umps are on the lookout for this stuff. Aaron Harang got called for going to his mouth on the mound on Opening Day.

When did Pujols and Hernandez pick up the artful skills of the nobility?

I'm not convinced a Prince Albert is so noble.
   24. Biscuit_pants Posted: April 05, 2007 at 12:26 PM (#2325718)
Sticky fingers are better if you're looking for movement.
But they are bad for fastballs. He would really have to balance that and I am not positive if it would be just getting noticed if that was the case, unless of coarse he just started.
   25. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: April 05, 2007 at 02:07 PM (#2325775)
Might as well let everyone throw games then.

Doctoring the ball isn't quite the same thing...you see that, right?
   26. Twoey Guillen Posted: April 05, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2325953)
The Dice-K nickname is disappointing, but I guess it was inevitable. I'd have preferred the inaccurate, but interesting sounding "GyroMonster." I would have also accepted nicknames such as The Monster, Tiger Beat (I wouldn't mind this one catching on for anyone who starts plays at the highest level as a teenager), Dr. Inscrutable, Johnny Streamline or Bullet Train.


I'm going to stick with Da Sucky Massbukkake until otherwise convinced.
   27. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: April 05, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2326015)
I discuss this a bit more on my blog, but my basic reaction is that while Derek's conclusion is certainly possible, the evidence he reveals here is far from conclusive. I, for one, don't see any difference in the movement on pitches between those after touching the cap and not -- his first and second strikes to Brad Wilkerson are practically identical. And Frankie has had that tic where he goes back to the hat since he came into the major leagues. It's certainly possible that he's been messing with the ball since he came up, or that when he decided to start, he found a way to do it within the constraints of his normal mannerisms so that it wasn't easily noticed, but that's a whole lot of speculation.

Of course, I belive strongly that there are at least a few pitchers doctoring the ball on every team. Opposing teams of "doctors" probably know, but won't call attention to it for fear that the opponent might call out their guys. So there is a de facto peace.
   28. Shredder Posted: April 05, 2007 at 05:59 PM (#2326031)
I hear Pete Rose has reached a deal to be reinstated soon, too.
   29. chemdoc Posted: April 05, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2326053)
The Dice-K nickname is disappointing, but I guess it was inevitable. I'd have preferred the inaccurate, but interesting sounding "GyroMonster." I would have also accepted nicknames such as The Monster...

I suppose "The Yellow Monster" would be right out...

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