When MLB suspended New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda for using pine tar this week, was it a serious indication that it intends to enforce the rule, or did the commissioner´s office get caught with its pants on the ground?
Everybody knows that pine tar is being used by pitchers, including MLB officials, yet they have consistently chosen to look the other way. Now, only with a blatantly obvious case, do they choose to hand down a suspension.
Putting them in an even more awkward position, is the Red Sox reaction to the incident.“Any substance is illegal,” Red Sox manager John Farrell to NESN.COM. “But I think there’s a certain acceptance that it’s used and it’s discreetly used. Personally, I don’t think this is the case (here).”
There you have it, MLB, the Red Sox not only admit to using pine tar, but they say there´s nothing wrong with it-as long as you don´t get caught. So what is the commissioner´s office going to do about this open admission?
Well, let´s look at the facts. The Red Sox finished with a record of 69-93 in 2012. They grew beards. They then improved to 97-55 in 2013. Their team ERA improved from 4.70 to 3.79.
Mere coincidence? Could it be that those ugly mops the Red Sox have worn are concealing pine tar or some other foreign substance to give them a competitive advantage? Is this part of the reason they were hesitant to make a big deal of it the first time Pineda was accused of using pine tar?
Well, there´s a simple way to find out. MLB needs to take some specimens. Line the Sox players up at the door of the commissioner´s office and check them out. Cut off a sample from each player´s beard and analyze it. Better yet, make them shave off the beards altogether!
Certainly, Red Sox players and fans will claim this would be absurd. But they are the ones admitting that using a substance is okay as long as you don´t get caught. Could it be that they would refuse such an analysis because there really is something inside or underneath those beards that they don´t want discovered?
Ridiculous? Of course it is. But so is this rule. And so is the reaction of MLB. If you are going to have a rule, either enforce it or get rid of it. Don´t look the other way until you are forced to do something.