6.24.2005

Brer Perry and the Tar, Baby



Howdy folks - Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry here, offering you a REAL players' perspective on what some folks call "cheating". Me, I call it "resource optimization," because I know who stole my damn cheese, and my parachute's nice and open. Anyway, I don't know why those Yahoo!s thought that tapping a knuckle dragger like Todd Jones to talk about pine tar would make any dingdonging sense. When it comes to scuffing and shining and spitting and greasing, I'm the one to talk to. I know the ins and outs of hoodwinkin' as well as I know my sticky johnson. And believe me, my johnson got plenty sticky when I was playing. In more ways than one! I've got stories about me and Morgana that'd turn a black Trans Am cherry red, lemme tell ya.

But, Jonesie, son, you might want to stick to what you do best - sucking wind and burning crosses. So what if you used pine tar and stunk while in Colorado? You stink anyway, boy! And the fact that you stunk while trying to cheat just means you stink at cheating! Boy reeks like a three-legged wet dog in a pool of piss. Anyway, if you want to pull a fast one, pinetar's not the way to go. Anyone with anything that'll stop the wind from going through your ears knows you don't use pinetar to help you get a better grip on the ball - you're liable to hold onto the damn thing too long! You'll miss your spot, you'll turf the ball into home plate, you'll send one skidding off into someone's nachos. You want the ball to slip and slide all over the place. You need something vicious and gooey, like Vaseline or spit or that stuff you get in your backside when you dip a little too deep into the Del Taco. I'm thinkin' that maybe Jones did figure it out, tho, looking at his numbers this year. He's like Mike Marshall or Roy Face nowadays. Damn, boy, make it more obvious! Why not come out dressed like a tube of Preparation H, ya backwater buttplug?

Any ballplayer worth his cup knows that pinetar is just for show. It's like getting dirt on your uni - makes you look all grizzled and mean and ornery like. Pinetar ain't good for a damn thing practical in baseball. You use pinetar as a distraction from your other cheats. Y'all think that Branden Donnelly was actually using pinetar? Hell no! Look at the tape close enough, and you'll probably find a broken belt buckle or a patch of petroleum jelly or a goddamn pocket knife or something. Pitching is about misdirection and deception, throwing hitters off balance, making these big ol' boppers look like slappy shortstop from Capistrano. Y'all heard stories about Greg Maddux giving a hitter a fat tater pitch to some dumb slugger in the first inning to set up his nasty stuff late in the game, right? Well, it's the same thing for folks that like to play grabass with the rules. You show something like pinetar, and it's a perfect smoke screen. It lets you pocket the KY Jelly for when you're going through the line-up the 3rd time, or work that tack into the hide a bit during a yap with the catcher.

Works for hitters, too - you know that George Brett pinetar homer? I heard from someone that knows someone that the bat was corked. Brett tarred up that bat up to the tip so that drunk rule jockey Billy Martin would get all bug-eyed about that, and not bother checking if the bat was legit. (Ha - imagine what Sammy Sosa was trying to hide with that superball bat! He probably uses some space-age wood-metal mixture or some other fancy sci-fi thing. The things they can do with a stick of gum and some soda pop nowadays...) All of this finagling and flopping around, it's a game within the game, like poker - you might have Big Slick, but some knock-kneed buttberry could call your all-in with a suited 26 and get the flush on the river and make you look and feel like, well, like dumb ol' Todd Jones. Doesn't mean you can't kick his can till it dents, though.

And speaking of kicking cans - son, what is going on with you talking about boning bats in the bathroom? One, you're a damn pitcher, and I use the term "pitcher" lightly. The only thing you know about bats is watching hitters flip them aside when they take your pisspoor change-up from home plate to Honduras. Second of all, this ain't some seedy Mafia thing like the Bash Brothers shooting each other up in the buttock all spy-like - it's a legal practice. Hell, an intern for this bloogarooni here went all Googly and found a bat manufacturer that TALKS UP its boning process! (Sounds like a young me, actually. But I digress. To the left.)

Take a peek at this, Roscoe: "Boning bats began in the earliest days of baseball. The Hall-of-Famers spent hours in their dugouts rubbing their bats with old cow femur bones. Bone rubbing closes the wood's pores, compressing it and making it harder. Marucci uses the same technique Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig used on their bats, rubbing before the finish is applied to seal and harden the wood. Using cow femurs from Sandy Farms, Iowa, Marucci takes his time on this step, and the same pride in it his baseball heroes once did." Any one trying to tell me that Lou Gehrig was a cheat can go sit their derierre on an A-Bomb and yippie kie yay themselves to Baghdad.

Anyway, who cares about "cheating" in baseball? Rules are made to be amenable to certain spirited interpretations. You know how folks get pissy on the highway when someone's driving at the speed limit and nothing more? Imagine if baseball was actually played on the up and up. You know how boring that would be? I'd rather watch beauty pageant girls try to think of words that have more than five letters in 'em than "true" baseball, because at least the girls look good when nothing's going on. The only boring thing in my life is church, and "true" baseball ain't gonna get me in with St. Peter, y'know? Don't think of stuff like this pinetar horsesense (or recreational substances like that stuff from Sgt. Bilco) as evil bad things that hurt the game. Think of them as the spice that kicks the game up a notch. And if you can't handle spicy food, then get the hell away from the jambalaya, Harvey, cause I'm starvin!

Gaylord Perry pitched for eight teams in his 22-year career, becoming the first pitcher to win Cy Young awards in both the American and National League. He won 314 games, and had a career ERA of 3.11. Perry was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.

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