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Saturday, August 29, 2009

A pitch tipping story from 2001--NY Times

  • As someone else said, there isn't much to this story except an attempt to stir up controversy.
Suggestion that Oakland A's team member Miguel Tejada was tipping pitches to one or more pals on opposing teams caused manager Art Howe to call a team meeting in July 2001. The NY Times says news of this has recently been uncovered:

No hard evidence has ever been produced, and to this day Tejada, now an All-Star with the Houston Astros, denies his teammates’ accusations, which have only recently been uncovered.

  • But Manager Art Howe, contrary to his laissez-faire style, was forced to address the issue. He spoke first on Tejada’s behalf, trying to quell the outrage. Then Jason Giambi, the unequivocal leader and biggest star on the team, laid out the players’ concerns."....
*The Times notes star pitcher Tim Hudson was shocked at the allegations and knew nothing of such events.*
  • (NY Times, continuing): "But to many players and people in baseball, the shadowy, illicit concept of tipping pitches or allowing batted balls to become hits is far worse than the use of performance-enhancing drugs because it casts doubt on the integrity of the game....
What first raised suspicion among the 2001 A’s was an early May series in Toronto. Tejada and Blue Jays third baseman Tony Batista, friends from the Dominican Republic, each put up terrific numbers. In the three-game series, Batista went 6 for 13 with a home run and 5 runs batted in, and Tejada was 4 for 10 with 9 R.B.I., including a home run in each game.
  • More significant in the eyes of some of the players was an incident in the second game of the series. Tejada did not get to an easy ground ball Batista hit off reliever Mark Guthrie with the Athletics leading, 8-2. When the inning was over, A’s players fumed on the bench.

Tejada, now 35, said his teammates were skeptical because Batista dropped a foul pop-up he hit in the previous game.

  • “I would never do that,” Tejada said. “I want to win. If my brother was on the other team, I would never help him.”"....
*The Times says pitcher Mark Guthrie wouldn't comment because such a thing is impossible to prove.* The article concludes noting the A's earned a hard-fought playoff berth at the end of the 2001 season meeting the Yankees in the ALDS. They beat the Yankees at the Stadium in the first two games. In Oakland, the Yankees ended up winning game 3 by a score of 1-0 and went on to win the series. Reference: "In Baseball: Friendship or Betrayal Inside the Lines," by David Waldstein, 8/29/09, NY Times
  • The year 2001 in baseball could be viewed as the year 1939 is in movies. There were too many outstanding games in that postseason to name just one winner. (framus)

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