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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Crime and punishment: Michael Pineda.

Playing for Seattle in Baltimore May 10, 2011
by Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons
Michael Pineda is in trouble.  In Fenway Park last night the Yankee starting pitcher was ejected from the game because the plate umpire found slop on his neck in violation of the Major Baseball League (MBL) rule against slop on the neck.

The umpires, of course, were oblivious until Red Sox manager John Farrell helped out by informing them that Pineda had slop on his neck.  The plate umpire then examined Pineda's hands, glove, back.  Finally he touched Pineda's neck.  Sure enough.  Slop.

Cheating: batter/pitcher; on field/PED.  Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Yankees and Red Sox just split the first two of four games at Yankee Stadium.  Michael Pineda won for the Yankees, then Jon Lester for the Red Sox.  Both were shown on camera with banned stuff, Pineda in that game, Lester in 2013.  No one seemed to care very much.  When asked about Pineda after his team had lost, Red Sox manager John Farrell seemed like he wanted to discuss anything but that...

Whom do you want to punish more, those who break the rules of play or those who use PED?
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Pineda left without any protest and Yankee manager Joe Girardi seemed befuddled but resigned.  Both during the game and after Yankee announcer Michael Kay asked his color commentators, both former pitchers, if they had ever used anything like this.  Both David Cone and Al Leiter said yes they had.  Both insisted that it is necessary to get a proper grip on the ball.  John Farrell seemed to agree, emphasizing that his reason for taking action was that Pineda had not been discreet.

All seem to think that the rule is not realistic.  One wonders why the rule is not changed.  A resin bag is provided on the pitching mound for use.  Why not also provide a slop rag?

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2014/official_baseball_rules.pdf

8.02 The pitcher shall not—  ...

(a) ...

(2) expectorate on the ball, either hand or his glove;
(3) rub the ball on his glove, person or clothing;
(4) apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball;
(5) deface the ball in any manner; or
(6) deliver a ball altered in a manner prescribed by Rule 8.02(a)(2) through (5) or
what is called the “shine” ball, “spit” ball, “mud” ball or “emery” ball. The pitcher is allowed to rub the ball between his bare hands.

PENALTY: For violation of any part of Rules 8.02 (a)(2) through (6):

(a) The pitcher shall be ejected immediately from the game and shall be suspended ... for 10 games...

If a pitcher ... did not intend ... to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball, then the umpire may, in his discretion, warn the pitcher in lieu of applying the penalty ... If the pitcher persists ... the umpire should then apply the penalty...

(b) Have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance... immediate ejection ... automatic suspension ... 10 games 
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Ten games for slop on the neck.  Hmm.

Crime and punishment.  Friday, March 28, 2014

Alex Rodriguez and Ian Kennedy, a tale of two offenders...

Crime:
Rodriguez: violated MBL policy on use of performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids; never failed drug test.

Kennedy: hit two batters (Yasiel PuigZack Greinke) in the head in one game: Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 42,844 witnesses in Dodger Stadium, plus team members and media, and TV viewers.  Puig was hit in the 6th inning, Greinke in the 7th, after which Brad Ziegler replaced Ian Kennedy who was not ejected...

Punishment:
Rodriguez: suspended one season (2014); currently serving.
Kennedy: suspended 10 games,one start.

It seems absurd.
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Absurd indeed.

Some fine points:

1. The rule goes on about when the opposing manager may appeal to the umpire and whether an ensuing play should count.  Farrell does not seem to have used this to his best advantage.  Why not wait until David Ortiz strikes out with the bases loaded?

2. Why not simply warn Pineda?  Girardi seemed asleep at the wheel.

3. Recidivism.  Pineda had been observed with slop on his hand in his previous game this season against these very same Red Sox.  Had the umpire considered this in deciding to eject and not warn, that Pineda had a previous incident?

Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez sits by his lonesome, a cheating pariah.  Albert Pujols hits his 500th home run and receives sympathy because the likes of A-Rod have cheapened that achievement.  And Ian Kennedy lives to hit two more batters in the head during Michael Pineda's upcoming suspension.

Nice league, Allen Huber "Bud" Selig.

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