Thursday, June 21, 2012

Peralta's 8-game suspension is a joke

Tampa Bay Rays' reliever Joel Peralta was handed an 8-game suspension by Major League Baseball for being caught with pine tar on his glove in Tuesday's game against the Washington Nationals. The umpire didn't notice it, but rather was asked by Nationals' manager, Davey Johnson, to check Peralta's glove. This all occurred prior to Peralta throwing a live pitch in the game. Crew chief Tim Tschida said there was a 'significant amount' of pine tar on the glove in question. Peralta offered up little explanation for the substance, only stating that it was his batting practice glove.

Peralta pitched for Johnson in 2010 where he had a 2.02 ERA and hitters averaged .170 against him when he was with the Nationals. Johnson admitted to having a little bit of inside information and did not have Peralta's glove inspected on a whim. "I didn't just make it up or dream it up, but I mean, there was conversations before the game. He was out there and I was talking to some of the guys and I said, 'How'd we let this guy get away?' I thought he pitched pretty good for us, and I saw he's been a kind of an invaluable setup man for Tampa Bay. One thing led to another, and I got probably more information than I really needed. I don't know," the National's skipper said.

The Ray's manager, Joe Maddon, was infuriated by the tactics-calling them "cowardly", "bush" and "bogus." And in my opinion, Maddon is 100% correct. Peralta is far from the only pitcher in the MLB with some pine tar on his glove. Pitchers will do anything they can to get a better grip on the ball, and believe me there are several doing it. Surely Peralta didn't just begin using pine tar this season, and Johnson was sure to have known that while Peralta was pitching for him. With Peralta being the Rays' best set up man thus far into the 2012 campaign, why would Johnson not use such information to his advantage? When Peralta came out to warm up before the 8th inning with the Rays clinging to a 5-4 lead, Johnson then had the umpires check the glove, ultimately leading to the ejection. Nonetheless, Jake McGee and closer Fernando Rodney combined to pitch 2 scoreless innings to win the game for Tampa Bay.

Sure, the rulebook says that pitchers are not allowed to have a foreign substance on themselves while on the mound, it's one of the many unspoken rules of baseball. There are loads of guys using several different substances. You'll notice a discolored spot on hats, gloves, sleeves, and pants of many pitchers around the league. In my opinion (whatever that's worth) this is an instance of a manager trying to get the upperhand to win a ball game. You can make the argument that Peralta shouldn't have had the pine tar in the first place, and while that is correct, he is FAR from the only one doing it. I'll admit that ejecting him from the game was called for, he got caught with pine tar, and it isn't 'allowed'. I believe the 8-game suspension is a little hefty, and should have been 5 at the MOST, but I wouldn't have had a problem with no suspension being handed down for him. If this is how it's going to be then it's time for Major League Baseball to check every pitcher's glove before every inning, and no one wants that. If a pitcher is legitimately using it for grip and not applying a substance to the ball, who cares? No one should believe that Peralta is a 'spitballer', because I simply do not believe that is the case. If he had been caught putting in the ball then the 8-game suspension would have been warranted. 

Joel Peralta has appealed the 8-game suspension and will be able to play until the appeal process is complete.

Do you think this was the right move by Major League Baseball?

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