The first 'M'
It is the 'Masters' weekend and probably one of the only weekends (other than the U.S. Open) that I will follow a PGA tournament very closely. Here are a few observations:
If Nascar ran a race like the Masters run their tournament, we might see some interesting things, some good, some bad.
1) There would be no female race officials, team members or even wifes/girlfriends/pit lizards being allowed in some areas of the garage.
2) Who ever broadcast the race would only be allowed to broadcast under the condition of 'limited commercial breaks'. Less than 1/3 of the 'normal' commercial break time allotted.
3) Past race winners would get an automatic qualifying exemption and would be allowed to participate come race day.
4) Concession vendors would be required to sell their goods at a 'reasonable' prices dictated by the race venue. ($1.25 sandwiches, and $.75 soft drinks for example)
5) If a race team dominated a venue too much, the venue would drastically change the race conditions to 'Tigerize' the venue.
6) No cameras would be allowed into a race venue after qualifying.
7) Because of sponsorship conflicts, never would you see a high angle camera shot or a camera shot from outside the track, for fear of a competing sponsor's sign or T-Shirt being seen.
the second 'M'
Major League Baseball is now in the middle of a quandary with a possible 'cheating' scandal. Angels pitcher Francisco Rodriquez is under investigation for possibly doctoring the baseball in just the first three games of this baseball season. Now this really isn't a huge deal over-all, but MLB could be held to a bit of scrutiny and penalty consistency.
Lets take a look at what we know as if right now:
1) 4-2-2007, against the Texas Rangers, Rodriquez put something on the ball repeatedly during the 9th inning, and wasn’t even subtle about it. In every instance the type of pitch thrown after 'going to the brim of the cap', was a breaking ball. Never once did Rodriquez make this action prior to throwing a fastball.
2) 4-3-07 game, there isn’t the kind of totally blatant grab-the-brim-then-rub-thumb repeatedly, but it’s even more clear that there’s something on his hat brim and he’s putting his thumb right on it.
So how does this relate to Nascar? Other than the fact that this is cheating, the real relativity might come from just how MLB chooses to punish the offender (if they do anything at all). Then let the conspiracy theories fly, just as they do in Nascar for the 'certain drivers can get away with doing the same thing, that other drivers are penalized for'.
But in order to fully understand this, flashback to the 2006 MLB post season and Detroit Tiger pitcher Kenny Rogers. On more than one occasion Rogers was seen with a 'substance' on his pitching hand. An obvious rules violation.
This isn't the first time cameras have caught Kenny Rogers with a foreign substance on his pitching hand. Rogers clearly had a similar substance beneath his thumb during Game 3 of the ALCS on Oct. 13. and on July 20 start against the White Sox, there appears to be a trace of something in the same place.
Just what are the odds of having 'dirt/mud' three different times on the same place on a pitching hand?
The moral of the story is that Rogers was not punished at all, other than told by the umpires to 'wash his hands' before returning to the mound in game 3 of the World Series.