On Wednesday, April 23rd, in the third of a four-game Red Sox versus Yankees series, Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was found to have a rather blatant pine tar blob on his neck. This resulted in his ejection in the second inning, and this was also the second time in his appearances against the Red Sox this year that he was seen with the substance on his person.
|Pictured: An actual baseball|
Well, naturally, the baseball blogosphere has also been abuzz about the incident. In the midst of the caterwauling, breast-beating, head-shaking, and eye-rolling, there has been one opinion emerging about how Major League Baseball cracking down on Pineda is sending a mixed message about cheating.
Because, you see, pine tar, used to help a pitcher grip the ball better especially during conditions such as cold temperatures, is a foreign substance that is considered an unfair advantage. But a lot of pitchers tacitly use it (and other substances), and they're not penalized for it. There's a certain measure of looking the other way if it's not too blatant.
But to all of those bloggers and people (yes, there's sometimes a difference) who think that suspending Pineda sends a mixed message about cheating, all I have to say is...
Are you freaking kidding me!?
Do these people not know how the real world works? Life is seldom all black and white, all of the time. Life has a lot of those little moments of "Well, this is not really lawful, legal, or otherwise in keeping with policy, but as long as you don't abuse it, and keep it on the down-low, it's all good."
Note the key qualifying phrase: "...keep it on the down-low."
Say you live in a town where a lot of people know the police and, even though the speed limit down the main street is 30, the police don't hassle residents if they're doing, say, 35. But then one day, some local pinhead (pronounced "Pineda"), fully aware of this unwritten policy, bombs down the main drag at 40 mph, windows down, hooting and hollering, stereo blaring. Naturally, the police can't look the other way about this, and have to pull the guy over. The incident also runs the risk of ruining for the discreet people who don't abuse that little bending of the law.
Pineda couldn't have been more blatant about the pine tar if he was wearing a t-shirt that says "I Heart Pine Tar" while pitching. And this is the second time the Sox have spotted him using it. They didn't say anything the first time. Maybe Pineda thought that meant he could take it up another fifty notches.
The "crime" in this situation is not that Pineda used pine tar. The crime comes from being so moronically blatant about it. Oh, and taking away the attention from Lackey's awesome pitching performance.