Deceit, Treachery and Dishonesty

We have recently been bombarded with discussions about Aroid (Alex Rodriguez), Ryan “Not Me” Braun and the many other players indicted in the the Biogenesis case regarding ball players using performance enhancing drugs (PED’s).  Before that we had Barry “Big Head” Bonds, Rafael “Yes I pointed My Finger at Congress” Palmiero, Roger “I Misremembered” Clemens and of course Bartolo “I think I am Harpo Marx Reincarnated” Colon.  All this talk just takes away from the game.  But what about the game?

Baseball is full of deceit, treachery and dishonesty.  Think about what happens in every game:

  • When a runner reaches base, he is regularly trying to “steal”
  • When a runner is on first base, the pitcher is trying to pick him off with a “deceptive” move
  • Catchers are always trying to move a pitch that is slightly high/low/outside or inside to “steal” a strike call
  • Runners on second base are always trying to “steal” the catchers signs to let the batter know what pitch is coming
  • Players in the dugout are trying to see if a pitcher is “tipping” his pitches so they can tell what pitch is coming
  • Pitchers change the cadence/timing of their pitches to “deceive” the hitter
  • Infielders hide the ball in their glove after a play to try to pick the runner off when he takes his lead
  • Pitchers throw a “change up” with the same arm speed as a “fast ball”

And here are some classic examples of teams/players trying to find an advantage:

  • Sammy Sosa broke a bat during a game and cork popped out – cork is used to lighten the bat to hit the ball further
  • Mike Scott, former Houston Astros pitcher, had incredible movement on his pitches.  Was it really a surprise when they found an emery board in his back pocket used to scuff each ball
  • Gaylord Perry, 314 game winner, went through a routine on the mound to put doubt in the batters mind about what substance he was putting on the ball.  In fact there was no doubt; he was using all types of illegal substances on the ball
  • John McGraw, an oldie but goodie – In an era of dirty baseball, he was the dirtiest player on the dirtiest team. He hid balls in the outfield, spiked opposing players, watered down the base paths, grew the infield grass to deaden bunts
  • The 1951 NY Giants – Came back from a 13 1/2 game deficit in August of 1951 to win the pennant.  Here is one way they did it.  Coach Herman Franks would sit in the Giants clubhouse, conveniently located past center field, and use a telescope to read the catcher’s signs. He’d then set off a bell or buzzer in the Giants bullpen that would identify the next pitch, and a relay man would signal it in to the hitter
  • Whitey Ford, Hall of Fame NY Yankees pitcher – Ford used his wedding ring to cut the ball, or had catcher Elston Howard put a nice slice in it with a buckle on his shin guard. Ford also planted mud pies around the mound and used them to load the ball. He confessed that when pitching against the Dodgers in the 1963 World Series, “I used enough mud to build a dam.” He also threw a “gunk ball,” which combined a mixture of baby oil, turpentine, and resin. He kept the “gunk” in a roll-on dispenser, which, the story goes, Yogi Berra once mistook for deodorant, gluing his arms to his sides in the process 🙂
  • Amos Otis, former Kansas City Royals outfielder and 5 time all star – He admitted using a funky bat much of his career. “I had enough cork and superballs in there to blow away anything,” he said. “I had a very close friend who made the bats for me. He’d drill a hole down the barrel and stuff some superballs and cork in it. Then he put some sawdust back into the hole, sandpapered it down and added a little pine tar over the top of it. The bat looked brand new.”

Queue the Fogerty tuneage:

Baseball, America’s pastime.  Deceit, treachery and dishonesty is welcome here 🙂  So what’s a little “cream” or the “clear” amongst friends?


One thought on “Deceit, Treachery and Dishonesty

  1. Thank you for not putting Pete Rose in there anywhere 🙂

    The most endangered species
    The honest man
    Will still survive annihilation
    Forming a world
    State of integrity
    Sensitive, open and strong
    — RUSH, Permanent Waves, Natural Science (1980)


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