Michael Pineda: Cheat cheat never beat
Some guys just never learn. Michael Pineda caught a break once for allegedly cheating in Major League Baseball, but not this time.
The New York Yankees’ pitcher was ejected from the 2nd inning of a game last night after Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell complained about a sticky substance on Pineda’s neck.
It was déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra might say. Just 13 days ago, during another game between these fierce rivals, a camera crew spotted Pineda with a sticky brown substance on his hand in the 4th inning. But by the 5th inning his hand was clean and the Red Sox didn’t issue a complaint.
But not this time. The substance, which was later identified as pine tar, was blatantly apparent on Pineda’s neck.
As MLB Rule 8.02(b) states, that is a no-no:
A pitcher shall not ‘have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addition, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically.’
On my way home from covering a meeting last night, I caught the Yankees post show on the radio (Sox beat them 5-1), in which Pineda was the topic. Sportscaster Suzyn Waldman said she spoke to Pineda in the clubhouse after he was ejected and he said the reason he had the pine tar on him was “to prevent hurting anyone.’
He had given up two runs in the first, and was clearly struggling when he entered in the second. A cool 50 degrees at Fenway Park, pitchers are known to use substances like pine tar to get a better grip on the baseball for better control. Is it legal? No. But it’s understandable.
What’s not understandable is almost getting caught 13 days ago with pine tar, and then blatantly slathering it on your neck and wearing it as a “brown badge of courage.”
Pineda got a break the first time around, but clearly didn’t learn anything. It’s not uncommon for people who don’t suffer any consequences for their actions, to keep on keepin’ on.
Let’s hope Major League Baseball takes a tough stance and issues a significant suspension as a wake-up call to Pineda, and a warning to others, not to cheat. Or at least to be a bit more discreet.