Image courtesy of Deadspin (in a way)

The good people at Deadspin came across a tidy little piece of information: a game-used bat belonging to Mickey Mantle is scheduled to go up for auction later this month. When the authentication expert noticed a few imperfections in the bat’s surface, he got out the x-ray machine and discovered, lo, the Great American Hero used a corked bat at the end of his career.

Get out the fainting couches and Valium, Billy Crystal is going to need a minute or two.

Deadspin quotes from the lot notes made by the auction’s authenticator who observed the “alterations” on the bat, performed the x-ray and concluded “…the barrel has been drilled and filled with cork.” Hardly surprising but incredibly timely, given this week’s spat of handbags between members of the Blue Jays and Red Sox media.

The back and forth now includes a healthy dose of Red Sox paranoia, as the BoSox used their “secondary signs” even without runners on base, as if to indicate someone might be watching from beyond the field of play.

Stealing signs, spit balls, corked bats by American folk heroes: is nothing sacred? Can’t a bunch of men in their pajamas just play a child’s bat-and-ball game in peace?