The act of doctoring the baseball has had a checkered history in the sport.
Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry was notorious for “adjusting” the ball to create unexpected movement, and his habits are still viewed with a wink and a nod by most fans and media members. Going back to the early days of the 20th Century, so-called “spitters” were allowed and other extralegal methods weren’t exactly frowned upon.
Times have changed since then, but a prominent Pittsburgh sports radio personality reported Wednesday that he’s been told three current Pirates pitchers have a history of altering the ball.
According to Mark Madden of 105.9 The X, an anonymous major-league scout told him that Jeff Locke, Wandy Rodriguez and Jeanmar Gomez have “greased” baseballs in order to gain an advantage over the competition.
Madden’s source also cited that trio’s history of forearm and elbow troubles as further evidence that they have leaned on illegal tactics at some point in their careers.
Since we don’t know the identity of the scout, it’s impossible to judge if he has an ax to grind with the Pirates, but that’s a serious accusation to make in the modern era of baseball. On the other hand, maybe that type of thing is a lot more common than outsiders realize.
Locke, 26, made the National League all-star team last season as a rookie, although he was much less effective in the second half of the year than the first.
Rodriguez, a 35-year-old nine-year MLB veteran, is attempting to work his way back from an arm injury that cost him most of 2013. The 26-year-old Gomez found regular work with the Pirates last summer after short stints with Cleveland from 2010-12.
Should the scout be believed? Does it matter to you even if he’s correct?