This is starting to get bizarre:
The intrigue about “Ballgate” continued this morning when a Cincinnati Reds clubhouse attendant who is in charge of rubbing up the baseballs, stopped by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa’s office to tell his side of the story as to how the balls used in the game seemed so slick to Cardinals starter John Smoltz.
The attendant told La Russa, “I want you to know something. I had nothing to do with those balls last night. I’m the one who rubbed them up, but I had nothing to do with them. I don’t know what happened to them after they were over there but you look at them today and they’ll be the same.”
La Russa said, “You mean the same as what? yesterday?”
La Russa then showed the attendant two balls he had saved from the previous game and said, “Do they looked rubbed up to you?”
The attendant replied, “No. I rubbed up the balls but they weren’t like that. That’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to get myself in trouble or anything like that. I’m telling you I don’t cheat. I don’t lie. I had nothing to do with it.
“Somehow the mud got off them.”
I’m assuming from context that this was a conversation that happened while the reporter was in La Russa’s office, so we should probably take it at face value. Which doesn’t help, really, because it leaves us with, what, the theory that Bronson Arroyo stole the mud balls, replaced them with slick balls, and then outfitted himself with pine tar to take advantage? Why, so he could finally win his 15th game? To get revenge on John Smoltz for snubbing him in an autograph line in 1992?
I have this image of La Russa going on like Queeq with the strawberries.
(Thanks to reader Jim U for the heads up)