Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Donnybrook! Almost...

The Colonel seems to be up to some new tricks. After twice being called for going to his mouth in games last week, reliever Brendan Donnelly was thrown out of tonight's game before he even threw a warm-up pitch. Washington Manager Frank Robinson protested that Donnelly was gaining some sort of illegal advantage due to his glove. It was not immediately clear if the Nationals thought he had an illegal substance but Angel color commentator Rex Hudler speculated that metal eyelets on the glove can be manipulated in such a way that a pitcher can get a 'cut' on the ball. A cut ball can then be thrown with considerably more movement.

Angel play-by-play announcer Steve Physioc reported later in the inning that pine tar was found in Donnelly's glove. According to Mark Gubicza, the pine tar helps a pitcher grip the ball and throw better breaking pitches. Then again, maybe it was for defensive purposes -- kind of like those velcro gloves and balls that kids learn to catch with.

Angels skipper Mike Scioscia became a bit heated, as you would expect, and walked over to Robinson and let him know what a pansy move it was (at least that was my interpretation) and walked away. Sixty-nine year old Robinson must have felt his integrity was impuned and got testy with Scioscia, stalking him as the Angel manager was walking back to the dugout. The gruff and grayed Robinson looked like a Leisure World resident who was denied his evening pudding cup. As the managers exchanged words the benches emptied and then the bullpens. The highlight was watching Nationals coaches restrain an enraged Jose Guillen who must have been thinking he could finally get some payback on Scioscia for his late-season suspension in 2004. You could almost hear everyone in the Nats dugout yelling "SERENITY NOW, SERENITY NOW!" desperately trying to keep Guillen from grabbing some lumber and going after big Mike. Those with "pre-All-Star Break" on the Guillen-meltdown over/under should be feeling pretty giddy. If Shields plunks him in the eighth he could have an aneurysm right there on the field. Guillen was booed in his return yesterday and he said he could not understand it after he did so much to help get them into the playoffs.

Damn, Guillen just jacked a two-run homer off Shields to tie the game. Should have plunked him.

Anyway, the fans booed him through that at-bat right until he shut them up quick. That is the last guy they should have pitched too. Way to big of an emotional lift for Guillen and Washington on that one. Suddenly Robinson looks genius for getting Donnelly out of the game. We'll see how this one works out. The real shame is that rookie Ervin Santana pitched a helluva game before Shields gave it up. Now Shields has given up back-to-back hits with one out in the eighth. Enough blogging -- if the game is still on then go watch it!

Update: Guillen's HR ignited a comeback that led the Nats to a 6-3 victory. In a post-game interview the Nationals Manager Frank Robinson said Mike Scioscia made what he infered as a "threatening comment". According to Robinson Scioscia told him "I'm gonna have every one of your pitchers undress when they come into the game." Robinson went on to say "I don't thnk that was called for. I don't think that was necessary." True to his word, Scioscia had Washington reliever Gary Majewski checked. When the umpires reported Majewski was clean Scioscia insisted that he tighten the laces on his glove which looked to be about ten inches long. Trainers trimmed the laces and the game continued. Unfortunately. Said Robinson of Scioscia having Majewski checked "that was weak."

Whether or not Jose Guillen tipped off the Nationals to Donnelly's pine tar tactics will never be known but Robinson flatly denied it saying "what we saw on video watching this ballclub, that... he had something in his glove. Jose didn't tell us anything. We didn't ask him anything about...that ballclub." Whatever. Geezer. Bottom line is Robinson got the best of Scioscia and the Angels by calling them on something that likely other clubs have suspected. Perhaps The Colonel was eating the excess pine tar everytime he went to his mouth but somehow getting called for "going to the mouth" last week and pine tar in the glove this week is connected. Donnelly could be facing a fine, suspension or both. But without his sticky friend he might be out of a job in the Halo bullpen.

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