More on the mud balls

This is starting to get bizarre:

The intrigue about “Ballgate” continued this morning when a Cincinnati Reds clubhouse attendant who is in charge of rubbing up the baseballs, stopped by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa’s office to tell his side of the story as to how the balls used in the game seemed so slick to Cardinals starter John Smoltz.

The attendant told La Russa, “I want you to know something. I had nothing to do with those balls last night. I’m the one who rubbed them up, but I had nothing to do with them. I don’t know what happened to them after they were over there but you look at them today and they’ll be the same.”

La Russa said, “You mean the same as what? yesterday?”

La Russa then showed the attendant two balls he had saved from the previous game and said, “Do they looked rubbed up to you?”

The attendant replied, “No. I rubbed up the balls but they weren’t like that. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to get myself in trouble or anything like that. I’m telling you I don’t cheat. I don’t lie. I had nothing to do with it.

“Somehow the mud got off them.”

I’m assuming from context that this was a conversation that happened while the reporter was in La Russa’s office, so we should probably take it at face value. Which doesn’t help, really, because it leaves us with, what, the theory that Bronson Arroyo stole the mud balls, replaced them with slick balls, and then outfitted himself with pine tar to take advantage? Why, so he could finally win his 15th game? To get revenge on John Smoltz for snubbing him in an autograph line in 1992?

I have this image of La Russa going on like Queeq with the strawberries.

(Thanks to reader Jim U for the heads up)

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12 years ago

I kid you not

Queegy LaRussa
12 years ago

That’s their tough luck, not ours.  I’d like some coffee.

12 years ago

But the umpires still have to choose and accept the balls as in “playable condition”, right? Are they saying that the umpires just decided to ignore the “shininess” of the balls or something?

I think everyone just needs to stop talking about this because it seems just plain silly.

12 years ago

Speaking of great baseball names…does the Reds pitching coach fall into that category?

12 years ago

What we need is serialized baseballs for La Russa. 

As in this game we will use balls numbered 987651 through 988727; pre-rubbed in Lena’s mud and stored in individual hermetically sealed mayonnaise jars under Funk and Wagnalls porch.

12 years ago

Somewhere Lena Blackburne is crying.

12 years ago

Wow… that drops TLR down a couple spots on the list of guys I’d have a beer with. Not that he was very high to begin with. And not like he drinks beer anyway, even though his team plays in a beer can.

Aaron Whitehead
12 years ago

Was the writer who overheard this exchange by any chance John Grisham?

12 years ago

It certainly looks like the only source for this story could be Tony La Russa – after all, it’s a report of a conversation between him and someone who wanted to stay anonymous.

So maybe I’m just being anti-La Russa, but in that context doesn’t it look a lot like he’s pretty much throwing this clubhouse attendant under a bus to add validity to his complaint? I mean, assuming this conversation actually happened it isn’t going to be tough for the Reds to work out who the guy is given he says “I had nothing to do with those balls last night. I’m the one who rubbed them up”.

Again, on the assumption that the conversation actually took place I bet the poor bastard who went to La Russa simply to assure him he hadn’t cheated must be more than happy to find himself probably out of a job because La Russa can’t let it lie.

Wooden U. Lykteneau
12 years ago

La Russa then showed the attendant two balls he had saved from the previous game

And we know this to be 100% true because…?

Troy Patterson
12 years ago

Pine Tar by a pitcher on a team that is 7 games below .500 and not in any playoff picture I guess to make sure the Cardinals don’t get home field?

I would like to hear Duncan’s expected motive for the Reds to go through all this trouble.

Old Yellow Stain
12 years ago

Ahh, but the mud balls that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that a duplicate key to the baseball supply DID exist, and I’d have produced that key if I didn’t have to waste valuable time managing the game. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow clubhouse attendants…