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10/23/06 1:08 AM ET

Steve Palermo postgame interview

Umpire supervisor answers questions regarding Kenny Rogers

Q. Do you want to talk about what happened first?

STEVE PALERMO: I think it would be better served if whatever questions, I'll field any questions you might have concerning that.

Steve, there still seems to be a mystery here tonight exactly what it was on Rogers' hand, the extent which it may have bothered Tony La Russa. And what was discussed formally between Rogers and the Tigers concerning it?

STEVE PALERMO: I think it was -- there was no formal request made as far as Kenny Rogers being inspected. It was just detected that there was a noticeable dirt mark of some sort on his left hand, his pitching hand, and after the first inning, I believe it was, Alfonso Marquez, the home plate umpire, just asked Kenny to remove that dirt, so there wouldn't be any question as far as any controversy. And I think if you see the following innings, Kenny pitched just fine without the dirt. You have to understand, obviously everybody realizes it was wet out there. You've got a compound of water and dirt and it's going to create a little bit of mud. And Kenny may have had that spot on his hand or whatever it was, when he left the bullpen, warming up out there, and maybe trying to get a good grip on the ball. And dirt is not a foreign substance. That's what we play on, that's the playing surface.

Did the Cards complain at all that any of the balls were discolored? The rule states if the ball is discolored by soil, it's an automatic ejection.

STEVE PALERMO: You can read that for me, please.

"No player shall intentionally discolor or damage the ball --

STEVE PALERMO: Okay, stop, stop, stop right there. Okay. It was never, never assumed that he did that. Now, when a ball hits the dirt, a ground ball, you're going to get dirt and/or mud on the ball. So there is absolutely no detection that Kenny Rogers put anything on the ball, by any of the umpires. That rule calls for his deliberately doctoring the ball in some regard.

The Cards did not complain about it?

STEVE PALERMO: No, not at all.

Was there an inspection by the home plate umpire to determine the exact nature of the substance on Kenny's hand?

STEVE PALERMO: Was there --

An inspection?

STEVE PALERMO: No, there was not an inspection, there was an observation. And he observed that there was some dirt or whatever, and he asked him to take it off, because he had noticed it. If you look at the time frame as to how everything went down, Alfonso Marquez was talking to Kenny Rogers as he came off the field, and Randy Marsh, the crew chief, was informing Tony at the same time, because there had been some question with the dirt that was on Kenny's hand. So the umpires were very proactive and they asked that Kenny just clean that dirt off so that there wouldn't be any question as to him with any foreign substance or dirt or whatever it may have been on the ball. What they're doing is they're trying to remove doubt in that situation. And that's exactly what they did.

Kenny was just in here, he said the umpires never had that discussion with him, never told him to remove the dirt. He found the dirt himself and wiped it off himself. Do you have a comment on that? He's saying that conversation never happened.

STEVE PALERMO: I spoke with the home plate umpire and among other things, because he was talking about pace of game, also, if you notice Alfonso Marquez made a motion about pace of game. He was rotating his finger and telling him the clock is running and about pace of game and what we have as far as a clock. So he talked to him about several things as he walked off the mound. And to the best of my knowledge, Alfonso Marquez had a conversation with Kenny Rogers, and he said, "Kenny, also that dirt thing that you've got on your hand, if you'll do me a favor and just take it off."

How do you know it was dirt?

STEVE PALERMO: Because it was observed as dirt. Umpires, they've been around for more than a week or so. This is not their first summer away from home, so they've got a pretty good idea as to what dirt is and what a foreign substance is. These are highly competent and highly trained umpires, and that's the reason they're here.

Did you observe it on Kenny or on the ball?

STEVE PALERMO: On his hand. And obviously there's going to be -- there is dirt applied to the ball to start with. Umpires and/or the umpire attendant has a special mud that's applied to the ball. So there's already dirt on that ball and/or mud, if you will. And you're going to have spots of dirt on the ball as that ball is in play.

Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.