It's been a slow but fun news day. Stensation was watching this video earlier today, and we have to say it has it all: 1980s anchor hair and fashion sensibility, a hopping mad Tom Kelly (or at least a slightly agitated TK) and Joe Niekro tossing his emery board -- which he subsequently said was for filing his nails in the dugout -- in the direction of a not very helpful (but slimmer) Kent Hrbek. Here is a little from a 1987 Strib story after he was suspended 10 days:
Niekro was ejected Monday after umpires found him carrying an emery board and sandpaper during an on-field search. Dave Phillips, chief of the umpiring crew, sent the emery board, sandpaper and a half-dozen baseballs the crew believes to have been scuffed by Niekro to Brown's office.
Niekro denied again yesterday that he had scuffed the balls. "I don't have to scuff a knuckleball and I threw mainly knuckleballs," he said. Niekro has steadfastly maintained that he carried the emery board to keep his nails filed flat, a requirement for throwing a successful knuckleball. The sandpaper, he said, was used on small blisters and as a backup in case the emery board became wet. "If I've been illegal, I've been illegal for 15 years," Niekro said.
The umpiring crew of Phillips, Steve Palermo, Dan Morrison and Tim Tschida said before yesterday's game that they believed Niekro used the sandpaper to scuff the balls. According to Phillips, the sandpaper taken from Niekro was approximately a half-inch long by a quarter-inch wide, "contoured to fit a finger. I'm sure he had it stuck to a finger on his glove hand," Phillips said. "When we examined the sandpaper, there was a fingerprint on the back side."
And ... video!