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More Possible Derek Jeter-esque Cheating In Baseball: Did The Rockies Give Tim Lincecum Juiced Balls?

Tim Lincecum pitched another September gem last night allowing only two hits and a run in eight innings while striking out nine and walking zero - despite being given juiced balls. Lincecum clearly thought he was being given a non-humidor treated baseball to pitch with. A non-humidor ball would be more likely to be hit hard and would also travel further, increasing the Rockies chances of hitting a home run off the reigning two time Cy Young winner. 

Of course, the Rockies deny that it happened. The Giants filed a formal complaint and it looks like their complaint worked: MLB will monitor the humidor balls more closely. While this isn't necessarily an admission of guilt on the Rockies behalf by Major League Baseball, it is a fairly incriminating action. This is the ninth year that the Rockies have used the humidor treatment on baseballs and now finally, Major League Baseball will take action.

If Lincecum is correct in thinking he was given a juiced ball then the Colorado Rockies would be guilty of a much larger baseball sin than Derek Jeter's charade that Brett wrote about earlier this month.

What the Rockies would be doing would be even worse than a player taking steroids or Jeter feigning being hit by a pitch. They would be guilty of having taken a calculated effort to give their pitchers a better ball to pitch with. The playing field would quite literally not be level.

Imagine if the Cowboys gave Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes a deflated ball to kick with during field goal attempts? That's the same premise here in Colorado. The opposing pitchers would be serving up balls that can be hit harder and further while Ubaldo Jimenez and the Colorado Rockies staff would have humidor treated baseballs to work with. 

Statistics aren't on the Rockies side. As a team at home they boast an OPS of .872. On the road, a paltry .663 OPS. While Coors Field is always going to favor hitting, the discrepancy there is really something to behold. This itself isn't an indictment on the Rockies - sometimes statistics can be fluky. They merely lend credence to Lincecum's claim that the Rockies may have given him a juiced ball. 

Lincecum's reaction to the ball last night wasn't the first time this year that this issue has come up. Jon Miller, long time Giants radio broadcaster, had accused the Rockies earlier this year of this tactic and it was essentially disregarded and seen as a rival whining. 

If this is all true, the Rockies as an organization will have cheated baseball. This is more egregious than one single player corking a bat to give himself an advantage. This is manipulation of equipment from an organization to give their team a better chance to win.

This is much worse than Jeter's charade - that was a rogue act by one player to reach first base. As sorry as it was, it was only Jeter acting despite the media's collective applause of the matter. This is much, much worse than SpyGate where the Patriots were taping coaches signals. This is a built in advantage to give the Rockies a much better chance to win 81 times per year. 

I hope Lincecum is wrong. Major League Baseball's actions today seemingly say they are inclined to agree with Lincecum. I don't think he's wrong though. If he's not, then Bud Selig needs to impose sanctions on the Rockies. 

The Patriots lost a first round draft pick, an extremely valuable commodity in the NFL for taping signals for gameplanning purposes. The Rockies for manipulation of equipment should lose at least that if this is true. 

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.