Will Bronson Arroyo provide the Cardinals with this post-season's Kenny Rogers moment.
Like in 2006, the last time they won the World Series, the Redbirds are slumping down the stretch. And, like in 2006, they now have a controversial moment involving an opposing pitcher and an illegal substance on their hands.
After a 6-1 drubbing last night against Cincinnati, I was a bit turned off to hear future Hall of Famer John Smoltz complain that the balls used in the game were the worst he'd ever had to deal with in 20 years in the majors because they were slick from being poorly rubbed up. My gut reaction was something along the lines of "Shesh. It didn't seem like Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo was having any trouble with them."
What's that black spot on the underside of the bill of Bronson Arroyo's cap? Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan thinks it's pine tar. AP photo.
Fortunately, I decided that I wasn't going to pretend I knew more about pitching than the previously mentioned future Hall of Famer and kept my yap shut on the issue. Because this morning photos of Arroyo make it appear that he had a healthy dollop of pine par on the bill of his cap. Did that help him overcome the slippery balls for better control of his pitches while Smoltz walked five for the first time since 1995?
The game was relatively meaningless in the standings. It now looks like the Cardinals are fated to play their post season games without home field advantage. But maybe it will help to fire up what has become a very listless team.
The Birds need to get angry about being cheated and take it out on the Dodgers -- or whoever else they play in the playoffs -- even if it's not that particular team's fault. It seems like they need to find SOMETHING to play for.