Sunday, May 4, 2014

0 comments The Red Sox are Furious Michael Pineda Dared to Do What Most Pitchers Do Anyway

I feel like the Red Sox have been getting more and more upset recently over wrongs done to them of late. Whether it's being mad in October Jhonny Peralta was eligible to participate in the playoffs, being mad in April Jhonny Peralta was eligible to participate in the playoffs, and now they are angry Michael Pineda had the audacity to blatantly cheat while playing them. Life is making the Red Sox team angry more frequently these days than it used to.

I'm not here to defend Michael Pineda. Obvious stupidity can not be defended. I would like to point out that nearly every pitcher uses some sort of goo to gain an advantage. It's not right according to the rules, but if it's wrong then MLB should crack down on it and stop the whole "Well, if we can't see it too much then we won't say anything" attitude directed towards putting goo on the ball. Pineda was stupid, but for the Red Sox to be furious over this when they know pitchers cheat? Well, that's pretty stupid also. Before he got caught against the Red Sox, Pineda has used the same goo against the Red Sox the week before. When Andy Martino of the "Daily News" asked Red Sox players about it this is what they said:

“With the cold weather, you’re looking to get a grip,” Boston manager John Farrell said after Thursday’s game. “I can’t say it’s uncommon, that guys would look to create a little bit of a grip. Typically, you’re not trying to be as blatant.’

The Red Sox were not annoyed with Pineda for cheating against them, but did poke him for being so obvious. It’s like, dude, keep this stuff in-house, please.

Capuano and Farrell are pitchers, so we can’t close this discussion until we hear from the other side. 

“I have pine tar on my bat,” Dustin Pedroia said. “That’s a non-issue. I thought he was better than us tonight. . . . They’ve got a difficult job. Pitching is pretty tough. I play second base. I don’t try to pitch.”
David Ortiz: “Everybody uses pine tar.”

It's not that Pineda was cheating, it's that he was so obvious about cheating. This really doesn't make sense to me, but the Red Sox were furious. It's fine to cheat them (just as long as you aren't Jhonny Peralta and at one point cheated and are no longer cheating...playing the Red Sox while not using PED's but having used PED's previously is enraging to them, but actively cheating in putting a foreign substance on the ball while playing the Red Sox is okay as long as they don't see it), but don't let them know you are cheating them even though they already know you are cheating them.

And of course it's perfectly fine if the Red Sox pitchers are cheating, but that was in the World Series so it was totally different from this happening in a regular season game. 

The Red Sox become aware in the fourth inning, but didn’t complain, because every team does it — and this particular ballclub actually dealt with accusations of using foreign substances twice in 2013, once with Clay Buchholz, and once with Jon Lester during the World Series.

But hey, it's fine for Buchholz and Lester to use a foreign substance because it wasn't obvious. Well, it was obvious but the Cardinals didn't push the issue, so it wasn't a slap in the face to the Cardinals like Pineda using pine tar was a slap in the face to the Red Sox. They are completely different situations, so that's why the Red Sox are in the right to be pissed-off that Pineda was so obvious with his cheating.

So on to the article by Bob Nightengale regarding the Red Sox righteous indignation over what many pitchers do, but manage to hide well. 

They should have been euphoric that New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 days for using pine tar in Wednesday's game and immediately accepted his punishment.
Instead, they were furious, outraged by Pineda's actions.
No, no, no. The Red Sox weren't outraged by Pineda's actions, but were outraged he was obvious with how he was cheating. See, if they were outraged by his actions they would be seen as hypocrites because just a few days earlier they admitted most pitchers use pine tar and their pitchers have been accused of using a foreign substance. So instead, they go the irrational route and get mad, not at Pineda's actions, but at the fact Pineda was so obviously cheating them. It's fine to rig the game, and it's fine for me to know the game is rigged, just don't let me know how you are rigging the game. 
"I thought (Wednesday) night was a slap in our face," Red Sox veteran starter Jake Peavy told USA TODAY Sports. "It was disrespectful. And not well thought of, either.

"I mean, you're on national TV. You put it on your neck. You're the starting pitcher. And you don't think the cameras are going to catch that?"

I love the sport of baseball, but there are a lot of things I will never understand about it. I don't understand the clenched devotion to tradition to the point nothing new is allowed to infiltrate the game, I won't understand how many of the current players have the same linear type of thinking many of those who cover the game have, and I won't ever understand why it's okay for pitchers to cheat as long as they aren't obvious about it.

The Red Sox don't want to act like the ethics police. 

Yeah, but that's exactly what they are sounding like by drawing an ethical line between cheating and being obvious about cheating. This is the same line most of baseball seems to have drawn, granted, but other teams have thought Red Sox pitchers have cheated and managed to not call the Red Sox out about it. 

They've got pitchers who have drawn suspicions, too. Clay Buchholz was called out by the Toronto Blue Jays broadcast crew last season for having what appeared to be sunscreen on his arms. Jon Lester was caught by TV cameras with a strange-looking green substance on his mound in last year's World Series.

But the difference is these weren't obvious signs of cheating. We know these aren't obvious signs of cheating because the opposing team didn't protest to the umpires about Buchholz's sunscreen and Lester's green substance. So the Red Sox are essentially mad they tattled to the umpires about Pineda's pine tar. I don't blame them necessarily, because it was obvious, but the difference in Lester having green goo in his glove and Pineda having pine tar is the Red Sox chose to have the umpire inspect Pineda while Mike Matheny chose to not have the umpires inspect Lester. The Red Sox don't want to draw an ethical line, but they are drawing an ethical line by calling Pineda out when other teams haven't called the Red Sox pitchers out in the past.

Red Sox manager John Farrell actually looked sheepish while asking crew chief Gerry Davis to check out Pineda in the second inning. Wednesday, he even said that he didn't mind if pitchers use pine tar, but there had to be some discretion.

"But that was just so obvious," said Red Sox starter John Lackey, the winning pitcher Wednesday.

That's Lackey playing the ethical police. If it's obvious, it isn't all right. If it's not obvious, it's fine. Of course the obviousness of the cheating is wholly determined by the Red Sox in this situation, but I'm sure that's something they don't consider. I consider Pineda's pine tar to have been extremely obvious, but I also think Lester's ectoplasm-filled glove was pretty obvious as well. Again, the difference is the Cardinals didn't request the umpire investigate Lester's glove. So the Cardinals chose not to be the ethical police.

"We took the high road in New York and didn't say anything, even when he had gobs of pine tar all over him," Peavy said. "Then, he comes out and says what he did (that he used dirt, not pine tar), and we still didn't say anything.

"And then he comes out and does that?"

I mean, I do agree completely with this. Pineda was incredibly obvious about what he was doing. I just don't know if being obvious about using pine tar is disrespectful. I would think just using pine tar would be disrespectful alone, but what do I know, I've never played baseball in the majors and I like to think logically.

Despite the fierce rivalry, the Red Sox really hope they won't have to monitor Pineda again the next time the clubs meet.

But again, they don't want to be the ethical police. It's just if Pineda cheats again then he better be very, very secretive about it. Use pine tar to get a better grip on the ball, announce you are using pine tar, but don't make the place where you stash the pine tar obvious. By the way, Craig Kimbrel keeps his pine tar on his hat. Is that considered "too obvious?" I need an unwritten rule telling me what's obvious and what isn't. I've noticed for three years Kimbrel has pine tar on his hat. Look at nearly any picture of him and you can see the pine tar.





It's been obvious to me for three years now. I guess that passes the unwritten rule of non-obviousness and there's no need for any MLB team to ever mention it to the umpire when Kimbrel enters the game.

"We're not looking to bust people for ticky-tack things,'' Red Sox catcher David Ross said. "That's not what we're about. There are always issues that come up, and there are unwritten rules.

"But you can't have obvious incidents like that.''

I agree, you can't have a pitcher keeping some green slime in his dark glove during the World Ser---wait, I mean you can't a player put the pine tar on his neck and not expect an unwritten rule to be violated. That's the rule. You can't violate the unwritten rule. It's in the rule that isn't written that you can't violate the unwritten rule. 

And yes, Pineda was very obvious. There's no doubt about that. One person's "obvious" is another person's "not obvious," but I guess that's where the unwritten rule sorts it all out. 

In a bizarre law that only baseball folks can understand, it's quite acceptable to cheat. You just can't be so blatant about it.

"I don't think that's silly,'' Ross said. "We're out for what's best for baseball, and that's to perform to your best ability, without cheating.''

But, but, non-blatant cheating is still cheating. I'm still cheating on my wife (I'm not) even if she isn't aware that I'm cheating. Whether she stays blissfully ignorant or finds out and has the umpire eject me from the house is irrelevant in terms of what's right and wrong. In this case, "to perform to your best ability, without cheating," includes cheating that players aren't aware exists or doesn't seem obvious. So Jon Lester either forgot his child's ectoplasm in his glove and was not cheating or had a gooey substance he was using to get a better grip on the ball and was cheating. He wasn't "performing to the best of his ability, without cheating" in the latter case and David Ross has no right to be furious with Pineda if his team's pitchers are using pine tar too and he is hiding behind a "best for baseball" mantra regarding the use of pine tar.

Who really knows what constitutes cheating, anymore? Pitchers hide substances under their sleeves or in their glove.

I know what constitutes cheating. According to the rules, using any foreign substance on the ball constitutes cheating.

"Guys don't really about talk about that stuff,'' Peavy says. "I don't know what's common. I don't use pine tar.''

"Well, before I go out,'' Peavy said, being brutally candid, "I put shaving cream on my hands. And I know some people put sunscreen on their hands. Or rosin. You just try to get some grip.''

But this is okay because Peavy doesn't make it obvious he is putting shaving cream on his hands and doesn't have a gob of shaving cream on his neck, nor does he keep sunscreen in a fanny pack around his waist while on the mound. So it's fine. You know, just like it's fine for a player to use PED's as long as he doesn't shoot them up at first base.

"Having shaving cream is not like a foreign substance on your hand. You can't really see it, or really even feel it.

Then why put it on if it doesn't help and Peavy can't feel it? It's pointless to use a substance that doesn't work, right? Peavy wouldn't use sunscreen or shaving cream if he didn't believe it helped him grip the ball. Plus, any time someone sees shaving cream in the Red Sox locker room then that should be red flag. It's not like shaving is a popular habit in the clubhouse.

Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who says he has never worn pine tar for any of his pitchers, insists he has no problem with the opposition using it.

Yeah, but David Ross says "best for baseball, perform to the best of your ability, no cheating..." and it makes him angry Pineda would so obviously violate this rule that isn't apparently a rule. 

"I'm not naive,'' Pierzynski told USA TODAY Sports, "I know pretty much every pitcher uses something. Whether it's sweat, rosin, sunscreen, hair gel, whatever it is, they're using something."

I can't wait for the day a pitcher uses the Cream and the Clear to get a better grip on the baseball. It's a combination of using PED's and putting a foreign substance on the ball. Would this be a 65-game suspension or a 10-game suspension?

The Yankees can't be absolved in the suspension. Yankees manager Joe Girardi took responsibility for failing to notice that Pineda walked onto the field in the second inning with pine tar, and GM Brian Cashman said the entire organization must accept blame.

Yeah, where is Derek Jeter being a leader when you need him to be one? The Jeter should not have let Pineda leave the clubhouse looking like that.

"I think he just got caught up in the moment,'' Girardi says, "We'll continue to educate him.''

The baseball world will be watching along with him.

Just don't look too hard, because then the cheating that isn't a big deal suddenly becomes "obvious" and therefore becomes a big deal. Cheating isn't fine, unless it pertains to putting a foreign substance on the ball, but it's not cheating if it's not obvious. Some things I just won't ever understand about baseball.