Pine tar me once, shame on you, Michael Pineda. Pine tar me twice, well, no matter how much we say “it doesn’t matter,” we must have you removed by MLB officials. That logic used by the Red Sox on April 23 seems sound enough, yet John Farrell may have opened a can of worms for pitchers around baseball and his own team when the Boston manager alerted umpires of pine tar on Pineda’s neck. His ejection will undoubtedly cast a harsher light on all MLB pitchers, among them two who happpen to pitch for the Red Sox.
Casting the first stone
No need to get biblical, but it’s baseball after all. So many unwritten rules exist in America’s pastime that it’s hard for coaches and players (let alone fans) to keep up with them. In the case of pine tar and pitchers, the April 10 incident involving Pineda and the Red Sox at Yankees Stadium enlightened many to baseball’s gentlemen’s agreement on the sticky substance. The verdict was unanimous in that neither the Yankees, the Red Sox, nor Major League Baseball gave a damn Pineda was using pine tar to improve his grip on the ball.
Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox told reporters it was “a non-issue,” while David Ortiz noted it was “better [to] be careful” than have a pitcher who throws 95 mph with the ball slipping out of his hands in his direction in the batter’s box. John Farrell said by the time he heard about it, Pineda had removed the pine tar that showed on his wrist via video from earlier in the game. When asked about the use of pine tar and pitchers, Farrell revealed why he may have been unwilling to cast the first stone at Pineda.