The Norman Transcript

Columns

August 13, 2013

Cheating versus cheating

NORMAN — Cheating, for want of a better word, has been ingrained in baseball long before the current unpleasantness involving the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez and the 12 other players who were suspended Monday by Major League Baseball.

Not only has a certain amount of cheating been tolerated, it is often praised for its cleverness.

There have been pitchers — most notably Gaylord Perry — who have illegally used saliva and other slippery things to make their “spitballs” to the plate do gyrations that Archimedes could never have imagined. Perry called his autobiography “Me and the Spitter.” He got elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

Fellow Hall of Famer Don Sutton (inducted in 1998) took great joy in challenging umpires to catch him putting a foreign substance on the ball. According to a story by the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Penner, umpires would search Sutton right there on the mound. Once, the umpires found a note in Sutton’s glove: “You’re getting warm,” it read, “but it’s not here.”

Sutton objected to the very idea that petroleum jelly was a foreign substance.

“Vaseline,” Sutton said, “is made here right in the USA.”

Yankees catcher Elston Howard used to scrape the ball on a sharp part of his shin guard before throwing the ball back to pitcher Whitey Ford, who could make a scuffed ball do wondrous things on its way to the plate.

“If you ain’t cheating,” Penner quoted former California Angels outfielder Chili Davis as saying, “you ain’t trying.”

In 2010, a pitch narrowly missed Yankee Derek Jeter and hit his bat, but Jeter grabbed his left elbow as if he had been shot, and was awarded first base by the umpire. Jeter was mostly praised for his cleverness, but his charade wasn’t appreciated by the opposing manager, who was thrown out of the game while arguing the call.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Congress must accelerate solutions

    Congress has roused itself, at the last minute, and now is scrambling to save the Highway Trust Fund. Better late than never. Better still will be if lawmakers agree to come up with the money to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent. ...

    July 20, 2014

  • The heavy burden of college aid

    Return on investment is a clear measure of what you get for your money. Incredibly, the federal government doesn’t apply that simple concept to the $137 billion a year it spends on college financial aid....

    July 19, 2014

  • James bears weight of Cav’s dreams

    LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician....

    July 17, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo