Ex-teammates saddened about Rodriguez pitch-tipping allegations
When it was reported last February that
"In a lot of ways, it's worse than steroids and HGH," said Twins pitcher
These latest allegations -- that A-Rod might have been purposely tipping pitches to opposing hitters while playing shortstop for the Rangers in the hopes that they would return the favor for him -- landed like a body blow to Dickey and
Both Glanville and Dickey were reluctant to believe the allegations, which are a part of
"From personal experience, I can tell you I've seen nothing or heard nothing that would support any chapter in that book that says that," said Dickey. "Then again, it's not so far outside the realm of possibility where you could dismiss it because obviously it could happen. It's mind-boggling."
Not to Spencer. The journeyman outfielder said that while he never saw or heard of other players doing that, he wouldn't have been surprised if Rodriguez wasn't the only one doing so. "I'm sure it does happen. There are friends of friends. I'm sure there are catchers out there that have told guys what's coming. Hopefully it didn't happen [in Texas] and hopefully it didn't happen that often."
The allegations, which were first made public in a
That explanation wasn't sufficient for Glanville or Dickey, who said "There's no situation that would ever justify him doing that on any level. That's somebody's ERA that's somebody's livelihood, that's somebody trying to provide for their family. I'm holding on to the belief that it's not true. No one with a conscience could do that. Blows me away."
Dickey does, however, have first-hand knowledge of Rodriguez's involvement with calling pitches. "My first year there (2001) there were a couple of games where he called the pitches from shortstop or helped the catcher called pitches, in a couple of my starts I know he did that," he said. "
Dickey pitched in several blowout games with the Rangers during his years there but said he had no recollection of anything like this happening. "I can't recall any of those games and even if I could I would never be thinking along those lines that my teammate could be giving away pitches" he said. "I could never think 'For sure he must have done it then.' That's just so far off the radar dude."
Glanville suggested that perhaps A-Rod's mannerisms that led to suspicion were actually a way to alert his fellow defenders what pitch was coming next, something the shortstop often does during a game. But Roberts' sources said that the key difference is when Rodriguez would signal. "The thing Alex would do, and this is the critical difference between signaling your infield as quarterback and giving away the pitch to the hitter, is when you flash the sign," she said. "This was done to give the batter plenty of time to see it and figure what to do about it. What would usually happen would be for Alex to do something as the pitcher is in the windup; that way the batter is focused on the pitcher. These signs Alex would flash came before the windup and that made it even more noticeable."
Rodriguez did not respond to these allegations when asked about them on Thursday in Tampa, Fla., where he is recovering from hip surgery that has kept him out for the entire season to this point.
Roberts said that one teammate gingerly approached A-Rod at the time to ask him about tipping pitches, and that A-Rod's reaction was "What are you talking about?" Both Dickey and Glanville said they wouldn't have hesitated to call him out on it if they knew. "If someone knew about it and didn't say anything in my eyes they're just as liable," said Dickey.
"If we had noticed it, it would have been handled in house with the players not with the coaching staff, personally with him first as friends and teammates and if it became a problem we'd have to bring the team in," said Spencer. "But that never came up. If I saw that it wasn't going to fly."
Glanville said that he would involve people "at the highest level" if he knew such a thing was going on. "It would pretty much be Armageddon," he said. "If you found out a teammate was giving a sign to another team that would be pretty ugly. If it is true it would be a serious offense in the culture. That would be the thing where I wonder if players would even want to play with him. Anything like that being true is a really major problem. If I knew about that, people would be confronted real quick. You can be friends with guys [on other teams] but when they're in the other dugout you try and take their head off."
"If he did do it he's going to (take it) to his grave out of fear for his life for sure," said Dickey, whose only move now is to be just like everyone else: wait and see what happens. "I'll be watching to see what his own response will be to the allegations. I mean, what's next?"
After the steroid and pitch-tipping claims against the man once hailed as a perfect representative of all that was right with the national pastime, Dickey -- and the rest of baseball -- may be afraid to find out.