Did Red Sox manager John Farrell break baseball’s unwritten rules when he ratted out New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda for using pine tar against Boston for the second time in two weeks?
When Pineda was first caught with pine tar two weeks ago, everyone said "No big deal, everyone does it." Even Red Sox star David Ortiz:
Farrell said the same thing after Wednesday night’s win, in which Pineda was ejected in the second inning after Farrell complained to the umpires and they discovered pine tar on the right-hander’s neck. The Sox manager, a former pitcher himself, acknowledged that most hurlers use something to help their grip.
So why then did he have Pineda busted? Well, he explained, Pineda’s use of the pine tar was too obvious — a slap in the face to the Sox.
The first time Pineda used the pine tar against them, it was observed on the heel of his pitching hand. On Wednesday night it was a dirty swath across his neck.
So, kids, be sure to write this down, ’cause baseball won’t: It’s OK to use the pine tar, just make sure to hide it better. Like, maybe in your glove.
No, wait. Rays pitcher Joel Peralta got an eight-game suspension in 2012 after pine tar was found in his glove. That sparked a controversy about whether then-Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson had broken "the code" by ratting out Peralta. "Before you start throwing rocks," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after the game, "understand where you live."
But Ken Rosenthal writes that Pineda’s use was "absurdly obvious" and even Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that in a similar situation, "I would want my manager to do what John Farrell did."