By Wright Thompson

Admit it, folks. It's been fun watching Kenny Rogers get torched about the pine tar that was or wasn't on his pitching hand in Game 2 of the World Series on Sunday. This schadenfreude is a guilty pleasure, like eating a second slab of Rendezvous ribs just because you can. It's not good for you, but, man, it's just too wonderful to pass up.

Kenny Rogers
Mike Ehrmann/
Kenny Rogers is facing intense scrutiny, and Larry Rodriguez is loving every minute of it!

And no one's having more fun with it than Dallas television cameraman Larry Rodriguez. When he can stand to watch, that is.

"Honestly, I have not been following," he says, "because it really eats me up to even see him on TV, to be perfectly honest."

You remember Rodriguez, right? He's the guy who was attacked by the petulant Rogers, then with the Texas Rangers, last season. Rogers, in an act befitting an out-of-control toddler, slung and kicked Rodriguez's camera before being restrained by his teammates.

The best part was when a Rangers PR flack said this about Rogers afterward: "He's not talking."

Thanks. He's just, you know, attacking people. Talking would be way too adultlike. Instead, a man who makes a small fortune because of television contracts and the audiences they bring didn't want a camera in his face.

So Rodriguez has been in hysterics this week.

He'd like you, the public, to know that he went back and searched for even more evidence that Rogers is a cheater, in addition to everything else. All week, people have been coming up to him, big smiles on their faces, asking whether he found any foreign substance on his camera last year.

"According to the photos," Rodriguez cracks, "there was pine tar on the lens as well."

Then they all chuckle.

"I covered the [Monday night] Cowboy game," he says, "and if I had a nickel for every time somebody came up and said something about Kenny, I'd be a millionaire."

When Rogers snatched Rodriguez's camera away in June 2005, he injured Rodriguez in the process. He had to go to the hospital, and, soon, there was a lawsuit. They recently reached a settlement.

"We went to a mediation process, and it is over," Rodriguez says. "We're not allowed to discuss the numbers. But I'm still working for a living, if that gives you an idea."

That means it's finished -- officially, at least. Rogers paid his fine, served his suspension and took some anger-management classes. He says it was an out-of-character act. He says he has grown up, which is good, given that he's 41.

Now he's one of the stars of this postseason, approaching the scoreless innings streak of Christy Mathewson -- who, by all accounts, was one of the true nice guys in the history of the game.

Sitting back in Dallas, Rodriguez can only shake his head. A year ago, Rogers was attacking people who were only doing their jobs. Today, he's a gritty, competitive veteran who persevered and all that.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," Rodriguez says.

Wright Thompson is a senior writer for and ESPN The Magazine. He can be reached at Sound off to Page 2 here.