When the Tampa Bay pitcher Joel Peralta was caught with pine tar on his glove, it somehow became an indictment of the Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson for turning him in to the umpires.
Peralta played for the Nationals a year ago, and presumably his former teammates, and now their manager, know that he had a propensity to smear the tacky substance on his glove to help him get a better grip on the baseball.
But it is against the rules for pitchers to use foreign substances on balls. On Thursday, Peralta was suspended by Major League Baseball for eight games.
Joe Maddon, the Tampa Bay manager, lashed out at Johnson through the press. Both Maddon and the old boys' club convention would argue that "everybody is doing it" and Peralta was unfairly singled out.
Just because something has been done for the past 100 years - throwing scuffed-up balls, spitballs, or using pine tar - doesn't mean it's right. And when a pitcher is caught sticky-handed, is there really much to be said?
Maddon implied that the Nationals pitchers and Peralta's former teammates did not appreciate their own manager taking such a step. If that's the case, they should not have pointed it out to him. Johnson is looking for every advantage he can get and why blame him when he found one?
If pitchers want to use pine tar, like hitters can to grip their bats, then they should petition Major League Baseball to change the rules.
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