Peralta and the Pine Tar
Peralta and the Pine Tar
It almost sounds like some sort of funky indie band-but it’s just another suspension in baseball.
Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta was suspended for eight games for having pine tar on his gloves. (Yes, you read that right) Peralta was ejected from the Rays vs. Nationals game Tuesday night. Umpires checked Peralta’s glove in the eighth inning at the request of the Nationals coaching staff. It is unknown who ratted Peralta out.
Peralta has appealed his suspension.
There are two really interesting things about this whole ordeal.
First, who puts pine tar in their glove? There are very few recorded incidents of this happening previously in Major League Baseball. In 1988 during the National League championship series, LA Dodgers reliever Jay Howell was caught with pine tar in his glove. He was suspended for three games, but an appeal reduced it to one game. However, if we believe what Indians closer Chris Perez has to say about the use of foreign substances by pitchers, it’s widespread. Perez says that every team has a pitcher that uses pine tar.
The second interesting thing about the pine tar incident is Peralta’s history. Peralta used to be a National. He played for the Nationals in 2010. Since Tuesday, Johnson, the manager of the Nationals and Maddon, the Rays manager have been involved in a verbal spat. Aside from the juvenile name calling Maddon did say something rather odd. Maddon stated that the Nationals were willing to rat on a former teammate and any free agents should think twice before signing with the team. So, let’s think about this for a minute. First, Peralta has used pine tar in his glove in the past. Second, Johnson, and presumably other Nationals staff and players, knew about this. Third, this is a violation of the rules of game and this is the first time that Peralta has been caught. Now, THAT is why he is facing an eight game suspension. Even if it cannot be proved that he was using a foreign substance in his glove in the past it becomes pretty clear that he has through Johnson and Maddon’s fighting.
Is having pine tar in a pitcher’s glove that big of a deal? In a league riddled with performance enhancing drug problems how upset should the MLB be about pine tar? Pine tar could help move the ball around in a zone by making the glove tackier. In short-it could have given Peralta an unfair advantage. However, how does that compare to steroids? Eight games is a hefty suspension for a little pine tar.