Ted Lilly's Cheatin' Foot

Watching some daytime MLB. Camera just zoomed in & didn't realize it caught a pitcher cheating. Don't ask me who/what. Tricks of the trade.

That was a tweet from @CJNitkowski at mid-afternoon Thursday, sent while the former Major Leaguer kicked back and watched sixth-inning action between the Dodgers and Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Bill Shaikin's story in the LA Times explains what caught the attention of Nitkowski and the Dodgers' Casey Blake, who had singled and was standing on first base.

Blake accused Ted Lilly of cheating...trying unsuccessfully to persuade the umpires that the Chicago Cubs pitcher should have been cited for starting his windup on some pitches from in front of the rubber. "I know he doesn't have an overpowering fastball," Blake said. "I know he's trying to get as much of an edge as he can. But he moved in. That's cheating. You've got to stay on the rubber."

Ken Gurnick of mlb.com explains how first-base umpire John Hirschbeck received Blake's accusation.

Hirschbeck said he "couldn't tell" if Lilly was in contact with the rubber, but couldn't leave his position to get a better look. "It's a hard thing to see and you've got to know for sure [to issue a warning]," Hirschbeck said.

Eventually, Blake got pretty fired up, Dodgers first-base coach Mariano Duncan had to intervene, and...well, I'll let Rob Neyer describe the rest and offer his own moral to the story:

Duncan gets between Blake and Hirschbeck, and eventually Joe Torre saunters out for a bit of mid-afternoon entertainment... Torre didn't belabor the point, Reed Johnson made out on the next pitch, and Lilly cruised through the seventh inning. This is a small thing. Pitchers have been cheating in exactly this way since pitching rubbers were first installed, I'm absolutely sure. But you may, if you like, apportion extra credit this afternoon to Casey Blake, to C.J. Nitkowski, and to the InterWeb.

Oh, yeah—the Cubs wound up winning the game, 1-0, thus chalking up their second shutout in three days against what was the hottest team in Major League Baseball since May 1st.

(See the beginning of the fun for yourself, right here.)



good news: Cubs 5 out of first and 4 behind Cards and can make up ground this weekend.

bad news: Carpenter and Wainwright make 2 of the starts this weekend

The other Chris Carpenter is throwing in Montgomery tonight against the Biscuits. I'll be in the press box the whole night.

Cool, let us know how he looked. I saw him pitch a couple of weeks ago when Castro played his last in AA before the callup. Carpenter looked smooth but he had some opposite field hits off him and bad fielding by Thomas and Clevenger. I hope the Smokies keep it up and take home the first-half division crown.

Vitters is 1 for his last 21 and is getting made a fool of here in MTG. On another note, Greg Maddux is also traveling with the Smokies this week and looks priceless in the powder blue road jersey.

The Cubs should quit wasting roster space on Vitters and release him.

ya gotta love the 17 AA games without a BB
Who drafted this bust?

a 20-year old bust in AA?


Colvin was a bust the last 2 seasons as well.

Players develop at their own pace, not the rate that we need them to...

Vitters being ready by 2012 to take over Ramirez would be the ideal situation, at the ripe old age of 22.

And now Joe Torre and the Dodgers are the authority on playing clean and cheat-free baseball... what a strange season.

Still no update on the Baker situation (lost vision in right eye). Zambrano's non-appendicitis now being characterized by Sullivan in Trib as "basically...a stomach ache." He is "expected to be available" today.


Hello Chad Tracy.

From @CarrieMuskat:

Baker's problem diagosed as an "ocular migraine" and his vision is back to normal. Zambrano is "fine and taking grounders at short now."

Isn't Ocular Magrane one of the retired pitchers/commentator-analyst on mlb network?

Recent comments

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  • it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).

    neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.

    also, rain delays suck.

  • take that giants

  • I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.

  • Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus. 

  • BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).

  • TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.

    TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.

  • Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.

  • Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.

    Think Baby Maddux.

    Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.


    Kyle is on the far left.

  • I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.

  • Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.

  • That was good!

  • Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.

  • My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
    1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.

  • Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.

  • Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.

    How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?

    Call me lost.

  • Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.