I must say, I wasn't expecting this kind of response to the K-Rod incident. Maybe I should write about cheating more often.
The biggest development so far is Richard Durrett's report this afternoon in the Dallas Morning News, confirming that Major League Baseball is indeed investigating whether Angels' closer Francisco Rodriguez doctored the baseball in two appearances against Texas this week. Curiously enough, it was not the Rangers organization that contacted MLB; Jon Daniels said he was aware of David Zumsteg's website, but had not been in touch with the league office.
The article goes on to say that MLB found out about the allegations earlier today, and that they would be reviewing video of the game, as well as possibly talking to players and umpires. K-Rod could face a 10 game suspension for violating rule 8.02b of the MLB rulebook, which prohibits having possession of "any foreign substance" on your person during the game.
Now, I'm not about to sit here and claim that this humble piece of the baseball blogosphere had much, if anything to do with MLB deciding to investigate this incident. But I'd like to believe that I've provided analysis and visual evidence that will make people stop, think and decide for themselves what we're seeing here.
In the meantime, I'd like to take a look at two more things that have surfaced since my last update. First of all, late last night I thought I had seen a shiny, or shimmering effect, based on about 20 frames from the MLB.TV feed of Monday's game. I created an animated .gif of my findings, which you can view here.
There almost appears to be something reflective underneath the bill of his cap, which would lead credence to the theory of Vaseline or something similar in substance being the culprit. However, you can't take anything conclusive from that clip, and even I have doubts about what we're really seeing there. From subsequent pictures, it certainly seems to be a solid white substance of some kind, so it's probably not Vaseline.
Secondly, here's a photo from Wednesday's series finale. Again, it has not been digitally altered in any way, other than being resized.
Obviously, whatever was on his cap on Monday night was there on Wednesday afternoon. And, in the interest of fairness, K-Rod struggled in this game, allowing a run to score on two singles (although one of those was a terrible call by the official scorer - definitely an error on Orlando Cabrera) and a walk. Zumsteg had this to say concerning Rodriguez on Wednesday:
In the 4-3-07 game, there isn�t the kind of totally blatant grab-the-brim-then-rub-thumb repeatedly, but it�s even more clear that there�s something on his hat brim and he�s putting his thumb right on it.
So, the question remains: what in the world is that "gunk"? Rob Neyer said earlier today on Baseball Think Factory that he believes it's chalk or talcum. Some think it may simply be rosin. They're all relatively innocuous substances, but still illegal to have on your ball cap. And one anonymous commenter from my last piece said he attempted to duplicate the rosin scenario, but could not do it.
Is it something more sinister? Perhaps.
But that's for Major League Baseball to decide.
Hopefully, the next update here at Baseball Time in Arlington is about a Rangers' win in their home opener against Boston on Friday.