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Accusing Cliff Lee of cheating probably isn’t the smartest thing ever

Oct 15, 2010, 4:48 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays, Game 1 Getty Images

I’ve been kind of out of it today thanks to spending a good chunk of it at an Ohio Bar Association seminar on media law. My role: defending the entire blogosphere against accusations that we’re ruining the newspaper industry. It would have been less fun if I knew in advance that I would be doing that, so I’m glad no one told me. But unaware as I was, you’ll be happy to know, my dear readers, that I did not give in.  I fully admitted to the fact that we’re ruining the newspaper industry and told them that maybe the newspaper industry should figure out what to do about that, because it’s kinda not my problem.  They weren’t quite sure where to go with that. Before they could figure it out, I split. I declared victory in my car while driving home and listening to the Pogues. All in all a good day.

The point of all of this is that I really didn’t read much news today (In those newspapers! Hmm. Maybe I shouldn’t ruin them after all!) As such, I missed the little dustup about Cliff Lee’s cap.  Seems that Michael Kay of YES is accusing Lee of cheating by putting resin on his cap, mixing it with sweat and doctoring the ball with it. I have three thoughts about this:

1) Joe Maddon — who’s really savvy — never complained about this during the ALDS, nor have any of Lee’s opponents that I’m aware of.  I don’t know if Lee was doing anything wrong, but I’m a bit skeptical of this kind of thing when it first comes up on talk radio.  Let’s wait and see if Joe Girardi complains — which he might, because hey, maybe Lee is messing around a bit here — but let’s wait for someone who isn’t, you know, Michael Kay or a WFAN caller to say something about it before we go too nuts;

2) Maybe this is not the most important thing in the world — a nine figure contract tends to trump wagging tongues — but given how badly everyone in New York wants Cliff Lee to sign with the Yankees, is it the smartest thing for Kay (a Yankee employee) and all the talk radio people to be leveling these kinds of accusations?  If Lee has his choice of destinations, might he not prefer to go to a team whose broadcasters and fans didn’t spend October calling him a big fat cheater?; finally

3) Assuming that consideration doesn’t enter into it — which it probably wouldn’t — in the event Lee lands in New York, can we expect Kay to ever say a single thing about Lee’s cap and resin and all of that?

I’d bet a year’s salary that he doesn’t make a peep.

  1. mithrophon - Oct 15, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Circle me, Gaylord!!

    …whoops, wrong blog….

  2. adrianbk - Oct 15, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Sounds like a good day – leaving with the Pogues blaring out.

  3. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    I think Cliff Lee’s Cap is in cahoots with Utley’s Hair.

    • Utley's Hair - Oct 15, 2010 at 5:44 PM

      Damn…the jig is up. Curses, those blasted Smurfs!!!!!!

    • Cliff Lee's Cap - Oct 15, 2010 at 6:09 PM

      I take exception to these accusations!!!! At no point have I ever been in cahoots with Utley’s Hair!!!! Though it is awfully shiny and luxurious…. Where was I going with this again?

  4. RichardInBigD - Oct 15, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    I wonder if maybe he shoves some jalapeno up his nose so he can generate some wicked snot, or if he slits the bill of his cap and fills it with vagisil, or ifhe spikes his hair with vaseline. Or MAYBE, he just nibbles the corners with unhittable strikes, or is that too simple an explanation?

  5. The Rabbit - Oct 15, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Good on ya for outmanuevering the dicynodonts.
    Bloggers and the net provide the most diverse opinions/news and a plethora of places to confirm accuracy unlike the daily papyrus, radio, and television whose purpose(s) is/are to (1) promote the agendas of media ownership with misrepresentations of facts, (2) raise advertising dollars at the expense of providing real news, and/or (3) provide great moments of self-aggrandizement for “commentators” who will create controversy with blatant disregard for anything remotely resembling truth.

    To put it kindly, Michael Kay is a tool and easily fits category (3).

    An expansion of your thought 1-Not only did Joe Maddon not “complain”, but I don’t remember seeing any player asking the ump to check the ball in either of the Lee’s starts. You’d think if there were a problem it would have been uncovered before now.

  6. frankvzappa - Oct 15, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    maybe thats why he was laughing when running off the mound the other night, because he was cheating in front of millions of people and nobody even noticed…i was wondering what was up with that crap on his hat though…and nice Pogues reference, i was listening to “if i should fall from grace with god” not even a couple hours ago, must be something in the stars…lets go Rangers!

  7. kennybrockelstein - Oct 15, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    Rob Neyer took to Twitter last year and said that it was rumored that Cliff Lee doctors the ball with Talcum Powder…

  8. crmcmann - Oct 15, 2010 at 9:32 PM

    I’m usually a lurker here, and not a commenter, but the mention of my favorite band on my favorite baseball blog forced my hand. Thanks Craig, for making me smile even more than usual. I’m currently listening to The Pogues while working on a paper, but “Body of an American” is making me want to drink and not write (and by working on, I mean repeatedly checking for updates on the game while hoping the Rangers can get revenge on the Yanks for my Twins).

  9. route36west - Oct 15, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    This wasnt an orginal thought by Kay …. last year with the Phillies it was brought up about Lee’s hat and I think the umps even came out to check it…. and it was brought up on TBS the other night… they zoomed in on it and were talking about if it was resin on his hat or something else….. thats probably where Kay got the topic from.

  10. roadduck99 - Oct 18, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    If they don’t want Cliff Lee to use “resin,” maybe they shouldn’t tempt him by putting a little bag of it right on the mound.

  11. masedesign - Oct 18, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Your number 2 comment is bogus. You really think the guy’s gonna turn down potentially millions of dollars because of a stupid grudge about something like that? Give me a break. You really are a sports column writer?

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