Thursday, April 24, 2014

Michael Pineda Ejected for Using Pine Tar

(image courtesy of ESPN)

Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda channeled his inner Eddie Harris last night, as he was tossed the game in the 3rd inning for using what was officially described as an "illegal substance."  This comes after a start a couple weeks ago where pretty much everybody knew he had some pine tar on his wrist, although after the game he claimed it was "dirt."  Pineda was subsequently suspended 10 games by the league - which in real terms comes down to a 2-game suspension since he is a starting pitcher, and might not have even affected the Yanks rotation at all had Ivan Nova not been diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament same day.

This story is getting a lot of coverage for a number of reasons.  First of all, it doesn't help that Pineda pitches in the league's largest television market.  Had this happened 3 years ago when he was with Seattle a lot of people wouldn't even know about this, but the New York media is going to run with this for days.  Secondly, it was the way he was caught that was so remarkable.  He was brash enough to just lather up his neck with pine tar.  During a nationally televised game.  Versus the Red Sox.  Also, this happened two weeks after he was suspected of doing the same thing.  That's not even ballsy, that's just stupid.  

There are a lot of unwritten rules in baseball.  You don't bunt to break up a no-hitter, if your star player is hit by a pitch you hit them back, and almost every player does or has cheated in some form or another - particularly pitchers.  Much like the Ryan Braun situation, I don't care that he cheated.  I only care that he lied about it the first time, and that he did it so blatantly.  Every pitcher doctors the ball in some way and it's naive to think otherwise.  Players throughout the history of the game have tried different things to gain an edge on their opponent, and that will never change.  In fact, there are several pitchers in the Hall of Fame who were widely known for throwing illegal pitches or using illegal equipment.  It is what it is.  But if you're going to be that obvious about it, then you give the other team no choice but to say something.  John Farrell clearly didn't want to go talk to the umpire, because he knows it's hypocritical and it's part of the game, but he had to because Pineda's tacky neck was just rubbing it in the other team's face.  This might sound weird, but there's a right way and a wrong way to cheat in baseball.  In Pineda's case, all he needed to do was walk to the Boston clubhouse after the game for advice.

Brewers 16-6 (3 v. Cubs, 3 @ Cardinals)
Reds 11-11 (3 @ Braves, 3 v. Cubs)
Twins 11-10 (3 v. Tigers, 3 v. Dodgers)

Erik - 2 (+2 worked)

Peter - 4

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