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What Was Pineda Thinking

April 25, 2014 - Al Stephenson
New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended by major league baseball for ten days. That means he will likely miss two starts, particularly if you count his last start against Boston when he was ejected from the game after an inning and a third. So what led to the ejection and subsequent suspension?

Well the game against the Red Sox was being televised nationally and Pineda was spotted with a big glob of something on his neck. Turned out it was pine tar and when Sox manager John Farrell asked the umpires to inspect the Yankee hurler, Pineda was tossed for having a foreign substance on his body, which is a no-no.

Now pine tar is legal in baseball, but only for hitters. They can put the substance on their bat (up to a certain point, everyone remembers George Brett and that episode) to get a better grip. Most baseball people believe that pitchers using it (again to get a better grip) does not give them any particular advantage. It is illegal nonetheless.

I found the incident more amusing than serious. Two thoughts came to mind as the event became well known. First of all, what the heck was Pineda thinking? If you are going to use the stuff, why would you put it on your neck where virtually anyone can see it. Seems pretty stupid if you ask me. Secondly, why were so many people upset with Farrell pointing it out to the umpires. Is there some kind of gentleman's agreement in place that says don't complain if your opponent is breaking the rules. If there is, then you can assume that all teams cheat somehow and tattling is not allowed.

The view from my seat suggests that this incident in not a big deal. Baseball has more important issues facing it and you can probably start with instant replay. Some obvious mistakes have been made after umpires have reviewed calls. Almost as obvious as Pineda putting pine tar on his neck.


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