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Why “Deflategate” would never happen in baseball

Kenny Rogers Pine Tar

Look, there’s no way around it: this is going to be one of the slowest days in baseball news ever. So let’s just get used to it now and save ourselves a lot of heartache and “slow news day, huh?” comments, OK?

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes the ridiculousness of the Patriots/Deflategate/Ballghazi thing today and how, because it’s the NFL, everything is bigger and beaten to death more and how, even if we think it’s terrible, it’s evidence that the NFL is king. He also draws a pretty apt comparison:

But as sports scandals go, this one should be minor. On the level of pitchers using scuffed baseballs, and getting caught on occasion. Here’s the difference: When a pitcher is spotted manipulating the baseball, it becomes a story for about 24 hours, maybe 36 hours.

And that’s so even on comparable stages. Miklasz notes that Kenny Rogers was once caught with pine tar on his hand during a World Series game.

I think he’s right about the cultural dominance of the NFL making it different there. But I also think a big part of it is that the NFL has a week -- and in this case, two weeks -- between games. Everyone has to find something to blabber about to fill out all of that time. In baseball there’s another game the next day. Even if we wanted to dwell on trivial things many of us would have to, by necessity, turn our attention to the actual sport the next day rather than find the next-level hot take to keep the controversy rolling.

Oh, and one other difference between baseball and football:

Never mind that the media — in the rush to demonize Belichick and Brady — are overlooking the most important aspect of Ballghazi: the NFL’s incomprehensibly lax protocol that allowed this to happen.

I wish a league’s “incomprehensibly lax protocol” was as big a defense to a baseball cheating scandal as it appears to be to a football cheating scandal. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find video from 1998 of Bud Selig talking about how Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa saved baseball.