Yeah, I think it was pine tar. Do I think it was an accident? Of course, not. Do I think it was an attempt to cheat? Yep. Here's the rub, though, what can be done about it?
The umpires didn't catch Kenny Rogers in the act. Neither did the St. Louis Cardinals. By the time either party investigated, Rogers had removed the substance. In a technical sense, we have evidence, but we can't prove a crime was committed.
I have to believe this is the reason Tony LaRussa didn't complain. What can he complain about? He heard Rogers had something on his hand an inning ago? Why bother arguing a point when you can't prove anything? I feel LaRussa opted for common sense over an emotional response that wouldn't have yielded any better result.
To the St. Louis faithful, let me assure you of two things. First, this situation doesn't make anyone in Detroit feel good. We want our team to win fair and square and the last thing we need is to have even a single World Series victory tainted. It's been a long dry spell for baseball in Detroit and we would rather enjoy our first World Series since 1984 then spend our time defending Rogers or feeling cheated in victory.
Second, if Rogers is on the hill in Game Six (assuming it goes that far), you can rest comfortably in the knowledge that Rogers will be checked like a potential drug smuggler at a border crossing come Saturday night. No pine tar, mud or chocolate cake will be found. The perceived substance abuse stopped after the first inning last night.
Like his run-in with a cameraman a year ago, this is going to follow Rogers around the rest of his life. I just hope that the rest of the series can rise above one inning of perceived pine tar aided pitching.