Mr. Madden @PSDRedZone | Apr 24
On Wednesday night in Boston, New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from the game in the second inning for using a foreign substance while pitching. The question is whether this dumb decision will snowball and impact the rest of the league.
During the first inning of Wednesday's game against the Red Sox, Pineda struggled to find his command and it appeared that the cold, damp conditions at Fenway were taking its toll on the big right-hander. When Pineda emerged from the dugout for his second inning of work he had clearly attempted to rectify the issues that he had in the first inning. The photo above shows the not-so-subtle smear of pine tar on the right side of his neck.
On April 10th the internet was in a tizzy over the image below. Pineda was pitching (also against the Red Sox) with an obvious, giant glob of pine tar on the heal of his throwing hand. The Yankees played it off as dirt...yeah right.
Editor's Note: Pro Sports Daily's partner FanDuel is running a $15,000 fantasy baseball league tonight. It's $2 to play, and the winner takes $2,000. Click here to join.
I can't fault Red Sox manager John Farrell for asking for Pineda to be checked on Wednesday night. This is the second time in the last few weeks that the 25-year old righty has thrown it right in his opponent's face that he's intentionally trying to gain an advantage. Good for the Sox for saying, "Enough already!"
My main issue with this incident is the absolute stupidity of Michael Pineda for not hiding the pine tar better. Pitching is tough in cold conditions. The balls are slick on a good day...on a cold day throwing a curve-ball or slider is next to impossible. I am a pitcher in my local league so I am aware of exactly what Pineda was going through in the first inning at cold, wet Fenway Park. I use pine tar to get some grip on the ball when on the mound and I'd wager that the majority of major league pitchers in cold weather climate use it too. The difference is that everyone else has a proper sized brain and hides it better.
The umps know that guys are using it, the league knows that guys are using it, and the opposing teams obviously know that guys are using it against them. You just have to make it less obvious and not put it out there for the world to see.
The trick is to hide it somewhere that is slightly hidden but is still available to quickly touch with your fingers to get the added tack needed to properly control the ball. Hide a smear in your hair, hide a glob under the bill or on top of your cap, or (if you only need a little bit) hide a small smudge on your hip in the side seam of your pants. The possibilities are endless...just don't come out to the mound with half a bottle of tar on your hand or a giant smear on your neck for everyone to see.
Michael Pineda will likely be suspended for Wednesday's brazenness, and he should be. He should be suspended for showing up the umpires by not even attempting to hide it and, possibly, ruining things for the other pitchers in the league. This issue will go away once the weather warms up, but until then umpires are going to have to pay closer attention to the issue. They don't want to call guys out for pine tar, but the media and public attention that this is getting will force their hand.
I just hope the spider web of justice doesn't extend to my league.
Update: Major League Baseball has suspended Yankees' Michael Pineda for 10 games.