Rounding Third: If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'

Philadelphia, PA ( - Yes, New York Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda had something on his wrist Thursday night.

Yes, regardless of his claims, it was used to gain an advantage.

And, yes, according to rule 8.02.4 in the Major League Baseball official rule book, "The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball," and any violation should warrant an immediate ejection.

But, nobody seems to care.

So now what?

Well, maybe MLB should look into changing the rule? Of course, that would open a can of worms all unto itself, as pitchers would be likely be loading themselves up with substances all the time.

But listening to everyone defend Pineda, that's exactly what seems to be happening anyway.

Former pitcher David Cone said during the Yankees' broadcast on Thursday that it meant nothing and was something he did when it was cold out, and both John Franco and Al Leiter were on a New York radio show Friday morning basically saying this whole hullabaloo was much ado about nothing.

Now, the Red Sox announcers seemed outraged over the whole ordeal, which is kind of surprising because Clay Buchholz was caught with about a vat of hair gel on his forearm last season.

Not to mention the substance that was seen in Jon Lester's glove during last year's World Series.

Buchholz opposed Pineda on Thursday. He was probably doing the same thing. He was probably just a little better at hiding it.

And that's probably the reason that nobody who matters in the Boston organization is going to say anything. Let's face it, in addition to the spitball claims, they employed Manny Ramirez and still celebrate David Ortiz - two players who may or may not have done enough performance-enhancing drugs for a small village.

Allegedly, of course. Well, in Ortiz's case anyway, I guess, because he seems to be the only player that the entire world seems to take at his word. Regardless of what may have been uncovered.

Whatever. A topic for another day.

But, to the Red Sox's credit, they all dismissed the Pineda incident after the game. Even Ortiz said it wasn't a big deal because "everyone does it."

"I became aware of it in the fourth inning through the video that some had seen," Boston manager John Farrell said. "And then, when he came back out for the fifth inning, it looked, based on what was told to me where it was located, it looked like the palm of his right hand was clean. That's the extent of it."

What probably happened was that the Red Sox saw the pictures and sent a message to the Yankees through a backdoor channel that they knew what was going on and to cut it out.

And if you saw the pictures of his hand in the fifth inning, that was about as clean as a hand as you'll ever see.

By the way, who cares if his hand was clean? Eddie Harris in the great baseball movie "Major League" taught us there are a ton of places on the body to plant something.

Pineda probably just loaded up the back of his cap with the pine tar instead.

Everyone defending Pineda has come up with the same argument that on cold nights, the pitchers use pine tar or gel or sun tan lotion or whatever to get a better grip on the ball.

That's fine. But that's an advantage. Just as a player who plays 20 straight days in the heat of the summer who decides to take some Adderall to get him through.

That was called popping a greenie back in the day and was accepted. Now it'll cost you a 25-game suspension.

"I don't use pine tar," Pineda insisted. "It's dirt. I'm sweating on my hand too much in-between innings."

Umm. OK.

Nothing more will come of this. As far as the players are concerned, the only thing that Pineda is even remotely guilty of is not hiding it better. Through the first four innings anyway.

Pineda wasn't even the only one dabbling in some substances, either.

Houston Chronicle writer Evan Drelich noted on Thursday that Astros reliever Josh Zeid was caught spraying his forearms with a substance immediately before entering Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays.

It may have been sunscreen, but that game was played in a dome. At night.

Point is, I guess everyone is doing it.

Meanwhile, Gaylord Perry is somewhere spit-shining his Hall of Fame ring.

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