Michael Pineda and the pine tar of our discontent

Pineda ejected, Yankees dejected after 5-1 loss to Red Sox
Girardi Notes: Camera, Foreign Substances
(Jared Wickerham/Getty)
(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

As you know, Michael Pineda was ejected from last night’s game because he had pine tar on his neck. This came less than two weeks after television cameras and the internet caught him with a big glob of pine tar on his hand against the same team, the Red Sox. Manager John Farrell did not play dumb this time, instead bringing it to the attention of umpires, who checked Pineda out and ejected him immediately. Farrell had to say something. It would have been irresponsible not to at that point.

Let’s start with the obvious here: it was pretty stupid of Pineda to use a foreign substance so blatantly. Both times, but especially yesterday. He had to answer questions about it last time and it was all over the media. Television, internet, radio, newspapers, everything you could imagine. He knew it was a big deal. Pineda knew everyone knew he was using something last time out and he still tried to get away with it again. Not the smartest move on his part. Here’s what he said after the game:

I dunno, he sounds remorseful to me. Maybe I’m just biased. Pineda said he apologized to his teammates and seems genuinely upset. He seems like a player who thought he was just doing what he could to help his team, really. I thought Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman said all the right things, that it was an embarrassment to the organization and everyone’s fault, not just Pineda’s. And it is. After the first incident two weeks ago, I don’t know how they let him get out of the dugout like that.

Girardi said they spoke to Pineda about using pine tar after the first start against Boston, but apparently they did not convey the message clear enough. That’s on the coaching staff. Pineda made a dumb mistake — note: dumb mistake =/= dumb person, no need make conclusions about his intelligence, we’ve all done embarrassingly stupid stuff — but I don’t see how anyone can blame this on him and him alone. The team failed him to some degree. Everyone said the right things, but at the end of the day, words mean nothing. Pineda is going to be suspended and deservedly so.

Now, about that suspension. The rulebook says pine tar results in an automatic ten-game suspension in the minors, but MLB can hand down whatever penalty they want. They’ll talk it over with the umpires and look at the video and all that. Joel Peralta got eight games for having pine tar on his glove two years ago, and ex-Angels reliever Brendan Donnelly got ten games for the same infraction back in 2005. Because Pineda was so obvious about it and made zero attempt to hide the pine tar (twice!), I bet he gets ten games. Who really knows though. MLB tends to make up arbitrary suspension lengths.

The Yankees have an off-day on Monday, so even if Pineda gets ten games, he would only have to miss one start. If he appeals the suspension, it’ll get delayed until whenever the appeal is heard. Could be weeks. Again, because he was blatantly cheating (twice!), I’m not sure an appeal would do him any good. It would just delay the inevitable. They could get the suspension out of the way now, let David Phelps or whomever make the spot start, and that’ll be the end of it. And heck, it would give Pineda a nice little breather early in the season. The Yankees are going to have to monitor his workload anyway.

As for the pine tar itself, it doesn’t seem to bother players and coaches around the league, so it doesn’t bother me. It’s against the rules but apparently everyone does it, so that makes it okay. That seems to be part of the problem. It’s okay but against the rules at the same time. I don’t care if Pineda uses pine tar to improve his grip going forward but he can’t be so obvious about it. On the glove or the belt or whatever. Of course, now teams will be gunning for him, asking to have him checked even if he isn’t using anything just to throw him off. The Yankees will probably retaliate somewhere down the line by having a BoSox starter Clay Buchholz checked, but that doesn’t accomplish much.

Do we have to question Pineda’s strong start to the season after this? I guess. I mean, once a player is exposed as a cheater, we have to question his entire existence. That’s how it seems to go. Fair or not (fair), Pineda is going to be second guessed for the rest of the season and likely beyond that. Good start? He was hiding pine tar somewhere. Bad start? Didn’t use pine tar because he was worried about getting caught. The inches fill themselves. The coverage of this over the next few weeks will be insufferable.

Like I said, I don’t care that Pineda was using pine tar and I don’t care if the masses want to invalidate his first three starts. I care that he made a pretty dumb mistake and now a pitcher not as good as him has to take a turn or two in the rotation. Pineda’s return from shoulder surgery and early-season success was one of the most fun and exciting things about the Yankees this year. Now, instead of talking about that, we’re talking about pine tar. Pineda and to a lesser extent the Yankees brought this on themselves, and now they have to deal with the consequences.

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Pineda ejected, Yankees dejected after 5-1 loss to Red Sox
Girardi Notes: Camera, Foreign Substances
  • Chris in Durham

    Yep. That about covers it.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Agreed. Spot-on all the way here, Mike.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Agreed on all counts.

        • The Great Gonzo

          FALLACY!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Nah, but seriously, nailed it. Could not agree more

          • Vern Sneaker

            Perfectly said, Mike. I was way more upset last night about Jeter’s defense and lame at-bats. He looks very average hitting at this point and a clear liability in the field. Also Texeira’s bat speed is slow slow slow and he seems entirely without power. Maybe he’ll heat up, but it’s concerning.

  • CountryClub

    Funny thing is that this may end up working out in the yanks favor. If he gets suspended 2 games that’s 12 innings he won’t be pitching…plus the 4 he missed last night. So that’s 16 innings off of his total for the year.

    Plus, the off day on Monday means they’ll only need to fill his spot once (assuming the suspension is only 10 games).

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      It’s also one game lost, a finally-rested bullpen now overused again, and at least one spot start by someone else to follow. I don’t see how that helps much right now.

      • AndrewYF

        Bullpen isn’t really overused. The best relievers haven’t pitched much in the past couple of games. Better than the other way around.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          True.

      • CountryClub

        Based on what the bats did, they were going to lose last night anyway. And as Andrew mentioned, they didn’t waste anyone of consequence last night in the pen.

        Like you said, we’ll have to see how Phelps (I assume it will be him) does in that spot start.

      • The Great Gonzo

        I would argue it helps with the bullpen. You know Phelps is going to throw those innings regardless (either 5 on Sunday or 3 On Saturday and 2 on Sunday).

        You are going to fill Pineda’s 25 man spot during the suspension (Aceves maybe?) to be that swing man. Maybe you bring up Leroux, or maybe Montgomery, maybe its Mitchell again. Someone to eat some innings (this should be a Bartolo Colon joke) and make sure Phelps/Mitchells/Dellins arms stay on.

        By the math its a zero net loss, but you will get some innings burned off by a journeyman or spare arm as opposed to by overusing guys who are critical for the season.

        The situation blows, but I am not positive it kills the bullpen.

      • ALZ

        Even if Pineda stayed in there and had his command they would still have lost. The offense did nothing vs Lackey.

  • JLC 776

    I’m sure I’m just being emotional from last night, but that was the most embarrassed I’ve ever been as a Yankee fan. I’ll take bad losses any day, but caught cheating on the field by your arch-rival?

    Yeah, I get that it probably happens all the time, that the Sox did it in the World Series, and that even batters really don’t seem to care so much – but to get caught like that, by your biggest rival, during a game and in such a dumb fashion. It’s mind blowing. One of the things that I’ve always loved about this team over the last couple of decades is that they seem like consummate professionals – at least on the surface. Even the occasional bad seed either appears to walk the line while in pinstripes, or isn’t around for too long. I know that a lot of that is careful marketing of a particular brand, but it works and I embrace it.

    I’ve entered this year with very low expectations for the team and have been pleasantly surprised so far. But this is it. Screw these guys. I refuse to believe that this was a single event perpetrated and known only by Pineda. This team – this organization – can no longer transcend the on-field product the way they have (at least for me) for so long. Go ahead, sell advertising on the home uniform, sell the naming rights for the Stadium, just fully embrace the new low.

    Alright, rant over. Like I said, I’m emotional and pissed and wanted to vent. I’ll be back to being normal in a week or so. But screw these guys for now.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      The entirety of the 1980’s, plus 2004 in general, was eons worse to me.

      You’re entitled to your rant, and I’m glad you admit it’s just that (otherwise, woah!), but no organization, and no person, is defined by one mistake. It’s shitty. It’s terrible. I don’t like it. I hope the Yankees take a nice chunk of Mike’s paycheck to go along with his suspension. I also hope he gets back out there when his suspension is over, pitches like a fucking demon the rest of the season, and leaves any questions about him moving forward in the dust. Vindication is more powerful than revenge.

      • JLC 776

        I feel better already just getting it out…

        I hope he takes his suspension and comes back and proves he didn’t need to gunk up the ball in the first place.

        • SamVa

          If you have read anything about this situation, you would realize he had no intention to effect the ball in any way. He was trying to effect his grip on the ball. He wasn’t using it when it was warm. It was when he couldn’t feel the ball in his hand. Say what you will about it being cheating, but last I checked it isn’t cheating to put it on your bat so you can grip it.

          He’s a kid trying to help his team. It wasn’t designed to improve his performance (a la steroids) it was so he wasn’t throwing the ball into the back stop.

          I think it should truly be considered differently because of the cold weather. It wasn’t 80 degrees out there. Say what you will but “being embarrassed” by this doesn’t make sense to me.
          Be embarrassed by something that is intentional. He was stupid to put it on his neck, but his intentions weren’t to cheat.

          My conspiracy theory is Tracy McGrady is paying him under the table to get a clear cut path to the majors.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            If only Michael Jordan had known 20 years ago.

        • The Great Gonzo

          I would say you won’t see him tar up anymore. Plus, 10 games in April or May get you into the warmer days. He won’t need it, if we believe what he said is true.

          I tend to believe him, he looks remorseful. That said, my mother (and my wife for that matter) would ask if he is sorry he did it or sorry he got caught. I think they’re one and the same, but what do I know.

    • Yankenstein

      If we win tonight, this will just be a bad dream.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Yeah. Today’s a new day. Score’s tied 0-0.

    • TWTR

      I am embarrassed that anyone is that embarrassed.

      • SamVa

        this.

    • Rob S.

      Screw Pineda? okay. Screw these guys? I don’t think that’s fair because most of them ARE consumate professionals. If you think that we as fans are embarassed by this, how do you think his teammates feel? The act of using pine tar in and of itself is not uncommon or a huge deal. Pineda was just incredibly stupid and blatant about it. The Yankees can barely win a game without their opponents making excuses or trying to discredit them in some way. That’s why this stings so much but it does not mean all the Yankees are trying to cheat. They are under the microscope way too much to even try. Unless you’re a complete bonehead like Michael Pineda.

  • Yangeddard Solarte

    Do we have to question Mike Pineda’s great start now? Of course not, that’s silly. I can put all the pine tar I want on my hand and I won’t be an MLB pitcher.

    Farrell was obviously in the wrong here. His guys do the same thing and they never get checked because the managers and ballplayers have an understanding that pine tar can be used to help grip the baseball. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Girardi have one of the Sox pitchers checked down the road. And hopefully CC puts one in Papi’s ear tonight.

    • JLC 776

      Farrell was absolutely in the right.

      Switch positions for a moment, Lester has gunk on his hand and we do nothing about it during the first site. Media and fans alike question Girardi and he can’t really say anything to defend himself other than, ‘we didn’t know’.

      Now it happens again. It’s ridiculous that Lester and the Sox are so brazen, but there it is. You HAVE to do something. You might not want to because it’s a thing that happens everywhere, but you’ll get crucified if you do nothing.

      Good for him. I don’t like him and I think he’s a cheater, but I applaud him for calling us out.

      • Yangeddard Solarte

        If the shoe was on the other foot and Girardi caught Lester then Girardi would have been in the right. Girardi is always in the right and we are at war with Eastasia. Farrell was in the wrong, Girardi was in the right. At the end of the day it is what it is, isn’t it?

        • JLC 776

          I withdraw my point in the face of overwhelming logic.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            If someone could write a script to hide all of Eddard’s comments, and sends me their paypal information, i’ll give them 10$.

            • The Great Gonzo

              I’ll give you $20, but only if the script auto-erases and fills his comments to only say:

              “Meanwhile, In EddardWorld…”

              AND THATS IT

              • Ryan the Developer

                I could do this….but it’d take a whole lot to get past the Mike Axisa firewall. I can’t even get a question answered in the Submit a Tip/Mailbag portion of the site. Some high security around these parts.

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  Could just make it a chrome/firefox plugin that filters the HTML.

                  • Ryan the Developer

                    See how easily that escalated from a script to a plugin? ;)

                    We definitely could…but not all that easily. Since every comment has the same basic html structure, we would have to set a whole bunch of parameters so that other comments weren’t accidentally removed.

                    Let’s just create a River Ave Blues browser that removes bad trade proposals and lets you edit your comment misspellings as well.

                    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                      I think we should use the opposite viewpoint of the US Court System.

                      Better to punish 10 innocent people than let one guilty party go free.

                      An RAB browser would be one of my favorite overreactive solutions to a problem, ever.

              • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

                Only if it also plays audio so that, “Meanwhile…in EddardWorld” sounds exactly like the Challenge of the SuperFriends’ “Meanwhile…at the Hall of Doom” line.

    • Kiko Jones

      I can put all the pine tar I want on my hand and I won’t be an MLB pitcher.

      Don’t look now but you’re making the steroids-don’t make-you-a-better-player argument, heh heh.

  • JW

    Small quibble — I doubt that Girardi checks a Sox pitcher down the line. Seems like everybody knew that Farrell had no real choice, that he was backed into a corner where he had to say something. So I think the Yankees will just (and should) quietly take their well-deserved medicine here.

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      I agree that Girardi won’t have anyone checked. Just like he won’t ever retaliate for anything (Dumptser/A-Rod, anyone?). He’ll stick to crying in post game interviews and letting other teams do what they will without the fear of getting anything back from the Yanks.

  • Mister D

    “Everyone cheats, the hitters want you to cheat for their own safety, just don’t cheat where someone can see it from a distance, ok?”

    Split the numbers at the right time in a future start against Boston, look questioningly at your fingertips, move on.

  • TWTR

    Did he use pine tar in ST? My guess is no, because it is warm in FLA. MLB won’t change the rule until a pitcher hits and injures a batter in cold weather and the MLB suits decide that if a batter can use pine tar, and elbow guards, and a helmet, then what is so wrong with letting a pitcher use pine tar, or whatever green goop Lester uses, and will probably endorse for money, once the MLB rule is changed.

    In the interim, MLB’s selective enforcement of their rules is a joke.

    • The Great Gonzo

      I don’t disagree with you per se, but I disagree with the ‘selective enforcement of rules’ comment here.

      If asked, they will check a pitcher. We have seen it a dozen times. If checked and he has something, they’ll toss him. That is as cut and dry as you see it. The suspension part, now THAT is a Bud Selig clusterfuck waiting to happen.

      • TWTR

        Maybe it is about complaints, but Lester used that green goop on his glove in the playoffs, and if you look at Bucholz’ hair, it’s dry between starts and oily during games ? And was also referring to PEDs.

  • Pasqua

    I will be pointing everyone who has a snarky / unintelligent / biased opinion about this controversy to this article. It says everything that needs to be said.

    Additionally, I cannot emphasize enough (and as Mike suggests) that NOBODY in baseball is claiming that Pineda has done something horrible. Even the Sox themselves acknowledge that pitchers use substances to improve their grips. This is not about Pineda being a “cheater,” it’s about him being a “bad” cheater. He forced everybody’s hand, plain and simple.

    • Mister D

      Except it didn’t “force” anything. Larussa wasn’t forced in the World Series and 99% of prior “man, you can really obviously see him going to his hair/wrist/pant leg/glove/etc” non-incidents have been overlooked in the past.

      “I would rather the guy know where the ball is going and have a good grip, for me, personally. Maybe it’s cheating, but I don’t really look at it that way.” – David Ross

      “Everybody uses pine tar in the league, it’s not a big deal.” – David Ortiz

      “But in my mind there is a difference between doctoring the ball to make it do something funny, versus to get a grip,” – Chris Capuano

      No one’s hand was forced, Farrell saw the potential for competitive advantage, seized it, then played it off like he had no choice. All within the rules, but don’t pretend like this is some historic level of obviousness.

    • Mister D

      (Those quotes are not to absolve cheating, which I think everyone agrees this isn’t. Its to show that no one on the Sox felt like it was a deal, at all, after the last game. Not “if he does this again, we must react!”, just “who gives a shit”.)

  • Rob S.

    While using pine tar is technically against the rules, I haven’t heard many people indicate that it gives you much of a competitive advantage. I don’t believe pine-tar is a major contributor to Pineda’s success. I completely agree that yes, he was incredibly dumb and yes, the Yankees are also at fault for not nipping this in the bud the first time and yes, this is a huge embarassment. I despise the Red Sox but I don’t blame them one bit for doing this. Pineda was practically asking for it. I’m not sure if this was gamesmanship or if they thought getting Pineda thrown out was their only chance to win. Either way it worked and I hope the next time Bucholz or Lester is wearing gobs of sunscreen that someone calls them on it.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I also feel like the enforcement of this so half-hearted because no one really wants to be enforcing it and they wish the rules would just change already.

      Hopefully this leads to actual real change so that the next Michael Pineda can focus on pitching.

  • jOE

    Old saying ” what you do , is not who you are “……Pineda is a good pitcher , but a dumb ass

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Correction: Pineda is a good pitcher who made a dumb ass decision.

      • Steve

        I mean, he’s not a dumbass for this. He’s a dumbass for getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk. This just kind of confirms that he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I think we can safely establish that we can say “Pineda is dumb” when what we really mean is “there are things Michael Pineda has done which are dumb.” There are obviously many things Michael Pineda is better than me at.

          Steve, are we still friends after your reply last night?

          • Steve

            FRIENDS! Seriously though, I’ll make an effort to troll you less.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              You and I agree more than you think we do. I think you wind up confusing my trying to play both sides of an argument with my actual opinion. What I wrote last night was actual opinion without needing to think about the other side of the coin. I’m doing more of that today because it’s a lot less visceral this morning.

              It’d also be so much more funnier for me if you just stuck to trolling Jim.

              • Steve

                I really really hate the spelling meme. So chances are I still will. Anyway, figured I’d extend a bit of an olive branch last night and was happy to see that you took it.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  What, the sportzphan stuff? It drives me nuts. Still does. There’s just nothing left to say about it after we went all Defcon 5 the other night. It’s not changing.

                  • Steve

                    No, the taking people who disagree with you and painting them as borderline challenged by taking a convoluted approximation of their complaints and doing things like this “THE CASHMEN IS A SUXOR!!!!one111!”

                    You and I have had a lot of differences and I do think you and the other regulars can be a bit holier than thou, but I’m going to make an effort to move past all that. But that one drives me absolutely nuts.

                    (I have a post awaiting moderation and it may be because I used the “r word” which I do hate, so if it shows up twice, my apologies)

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      Ah. The “TEH” stuff. Fair enough. I’ll be more mindful of that.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                Hooooold up there, buddy.

                • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

                  How heavy was the bus?

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  HAHAHAHAHA!

    • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

      Actually, the old saying is the opposite.

      “It’s not who you are inside, it’s what you do that defines you.”

      Not that I necessarily agree, but just pointing out that the old saying is the exact opposite of what you said.

  • Bronx Boy

    Pineda hasn’t shown he can handle the pressure of being a Yankee, New York, the intense Eastern Division, the whole ball of wax. Some players can, some players can’t. I can’t think of a player who shows that side to his personality that then turns it around.

    Think about it – right from when he first showed up after the trade – 30 pounds overweight. Then the DWI, then facing the Red Sox – the intensity of those games, the media pressure around them. He wants to win, I get that, but if that desire comes from fear of failure instead of love of the challenge, well, I don’t know what the Yankees are going to do about it, or even if there is something to be done.

    You pull for the guy, you really do, but he ain’t a kid anymore and now there’s this doubt and lingering question: Is NY the right place for him?

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      ………………………………………………..wtf

      • Mister D

        People like this probably analyze what the waiter *really meant* by “would you like bread to start” for 45 minutes.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Bread to start? Start what, the car? Say, waiter, I’m hungry. Can I have some bread? What, you mean to start? Start what, the car? Wow, I’m hungry.

    • SamVa

      I don’t think Jeter can handle it either. Did you see his defense last night? and not getting on base?

      what a bust.

      /makes equal sense to what you said.

      • Bronx Boy

        I don’t want it to make sense, man, but I’ve been a fan since the 50’s and I’ve seen this stuff too many times. I love the guy and what he brings to the rotation, but right now he’s got a lot to show me. That move last night was crazy dumb, off the charts. Do I feel confident he’ll hold up in an intense playoff situation with everything on the line? No, I don’t. Not yet. By a long shot. He’s got all season to prove me wrong. Hope he does.

        • Ryan

          Don’t worry, I’m sure Cashman is having a meeting with Pineda right now, letting him know he’s got a lot to prove to Bronx Boy.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      They’re tearing the “Big Mike” banners down quicker than Eric Embry tore the WCCW sign off the Dallas Sportatorium.

      • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

        What a travesty that was. Sure, WCCW’s glory days were over, but Eric Embry was such a colossal piece of shit.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Also, Mick Foley’s stories about Embry walking around backstage completely naked most of time will also shape your opinion of him.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          It’s a shame that the name that was associated with that promotion for so long wound up being the scapegoat. The history there is fascinating.

          Steve Austin and Jim Cornette were talking about the Sportatorium on Austin’s podcast (which is the greatest thing ever – It’s like redneck zen). Austin said it always smelled like beer, popcorn, cotton candy, and piss, and he loved it. Would have been great to check out a card there.

          • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

            Yea, it’s too bad they tore the place down. On WWE’s Triumph and Tragedy of WCCW DVD, a lot of the guys talk about it in both disparaging and loving terms at the same time.

    • rek4gehrig

      Huh?!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Larry B.

    Great article. Everything is spot on. I’ll add that this is being made a much bigger deal because it happened during a Boston-NY game. Most other teams it would barely register a blip.

    The good thing is weather should pick up pretty soon so I think Pineda won’t feel the need to use pine tar as much.

  • Chris Z

    First, he broke an established rule. He should be suspended but I have a few observations:

    1. I don’t believe the coaching staff when they say he probably didn’t fully understand. If he didn’t understand the 1st time, why lie and say it was dirt? He knew, knows and always did from the first incident to today. Its insulting to use the language barrier as a reason. What, no one on that team speaks English and Spanish well enough to explain it to him?
    2. The rule says you can’t apply a foreign substance to the ball. Is there another rule that says you can’t use pine tar as a pitcher? I am confused by this rule. If he wasn’t using the pine tar on the ball itself to alter its flight what is the problem?
    3. Can a fielder use pine tar if it is raining out for example? Can the catcher use it if it’s extremely hot and his hands are sweaty? What is the line here? Only the pitcher?
    4. My personal feeling on this is that using any substance to grip the ball better should be illegal. It enhances your ability to put spin on the ball, which in turn allows pitches to break more. It’s an enhancement when it comes down to it. That’s why it’s illegal. I see no difference between marking a ball vs putting something on your hand that allows you to do something (i.e. put more spin on the ball) than you would have using your own natural ability. I’m not saying it should rise to the level of PED use, however using a substance that allows the pitcher to put even 10 more RPM’s on the ball between the mound and home plate that would not otherwise be attainable by that particular pitcher using his own natural ability should be illegal.

    • Yangeddard Solarte

      Fielders can use pine tar. On the ESPN telecast Boone said he used it to help on cold and wet days. Batters can use some on the bat for grip. It’s definitely a double standard. Just one of those antiquated rules that is accepted by today’s players unless it’s really obvious like Pineda. It should either be enforced strictly or abolished.

    • Holy Ghost

      “It enhances your ability to put spin on the ball, which in turn allows pitches to break more”

      99% of the pro-baseball players who have commented on this issue disagree with you.

      Does it help pitchers control their pitchers better on cold days? Probably. But it’s a stretch to argue that it enhances performance.

      IMO it’s no more of an advantage than hitters who improve their eyesight by wearing contact lenses

  • John

    Enforce the goddamn “rule” completely or get rid of it. It shouldn’t matter if the pine tar is on your nose or under your belt – you’re breaking the written rule either way. This “don’t be blatant and we won’t punish you” is bullshit.

    If everyone in the game says everyone does it – and no one has a problem with it – why is the rule still there?

    Pineda is going to be punished because he doesn’t break the rules as well as others. Do I think Pineda should be punished? Absolutely, because he broke the rule, not because he wasn’t smart about breaking it. But I think EVERYONE else that “applies a foreign substance” to the ball should be punished, and it shouldn’t matter if the substance came from their neck or their ass or somewhere in between.

    • Larry B.

      Yes, very hypocritical. But these hypocritical quirks are also part of the fabric of baseball. There is a culture of cheating that is part of baseball. It’s part of the “gamesmenship.” Whether we like it and acknowledge it or not.

      • Chris Z

        …..but in the age of replay, we want to get everything right. Baseball lost its old time charm when TV started showing every little thing about the game. The neighborhood play at 2b, pine tar on the glove, a very close fair/foul call. All these old time things are dying with TV and replay. Its a war between the game we loved then and the game we love today.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          “Its a war between the game we loved then and the game we love today.”

          It doesn’t have to be. People make it out to be a “war”, it’s more a lovers quarrel. Baseball is still baseball.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            It’s more a lover’s spat which ends in Pineda/Farrell “make up sex.”

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              *gouges eyes out*

      • Holy Ghost

        “It’s only cheating if you get caught trying to buy the evidence”

        – Alex Rodriguez

    • Chris Z

      +1

  • Looser trader droids Kenobi FotD™

    “The coverage of this over the next few weeks will be insufferable.”

    This. And none worse then NESPN.

    I’m reminded of…I think it was Randolph but I can’t be sure…after George Brett’s pine tar home run was upheld, saying and demonstrating how he was now rubbing pine tar from end to end on his bat because why not? And even without that, the fact is that batters get to use it to get a grip on the bat. Why shouldn’t pitchers get to use it to get a grip on the ball?

    Change the effing rule.

  • Yogi’s Ears

    Pineda was definitely the kid who would hide under the bed during Hide and Seek but leave his legs sticking out.

    • Looser trader droids Kenobi FotD™

      Even a California king would leave him exposed.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    but I don’t see how anyone can blame this on him and him alone

    He’s a grown ass man.

  • JJT

    This is no big deal. He just needs to figure out a way not to be so blatant about how he uses the next time it is that cold. The Yankees had to be contrite in their remarks last night.

  • Captain Turbohiro Tanaka

    Next time Pineda should hide the pine tar with Ortiz’s steroids. No one will ever find it.

  • Dale Mohorcic

    Given how hard it is to get pine tar off of anything, what did he need a glob of it got anyway? Put some on your fingertips between innings.

  • Dan

    The bright side: 2 less starts to skip later on in the year.

  • Darren

    Are you fucking kidding me? Cashman should be fired for treason and Girardi can follow him. They threw Pineda under the bus and for what? Kenny fucking Rogers blatantly cheats against us and nobody says boo, but NOW they’re embarrassed? Give me a break. What a bunch of mealy mouthed bullshit lips service. Such hypocritical nonsense.

    Makes me sick how people are letting a young star twist in the wind. And if you heard him he was worried about not hitting anyone. After the Cabral fiasco when the Yankees actually needed Joe West – JOE WEST!!! – to do the right thing, it’s clear they can’t be trusted to do anything right.

    I’m embarrassed to be a Yankee fan today, but it’s not because of Michael Pineda.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      I don’t think the people who matter are letting Pineda twist in the wind. Fans will be fans, but as long as the clubhouse supports him, I don’t care what else goes on.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You can count on a Darren overreaction about as much as you can count on the sun’s coming up in the morning.

      • Darren

        Please. Cashman and the commenters above are overreacting. Mike’s overreacting. I’m being realistic. Let’s stop the absolute flood of bullshit that pours forth and just be slightly real, can we?

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          I don’t think Cashman overreacted in the least. I don’t the commenters who aren’t wasting their time trying to rationalize this by pulling out what some member of the Sox did before are overreacting. This was a dumb thing. He should be suspended. The leadership of this team both protected him and held him accountable in their comments. All everyone can now do here is move on and do better when he gets back from his suspension.

          Sorry, Darren, but you sound like the one overreacting here. At least JLC let us know he was just going to let it all air out when he ranted.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          What the hell is Mike overreacting to? It was a totally level-headed article.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Derek Jeter didn’t receive proper reverence.

    • The Great Gonzo

      And there it is.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        It is high, it is far….

        • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

          It…is…………the ball seems to have disappeared, Suzyn.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Someone said Jeter was the luckiest guy in the world last night. Nah nah nah. Brett Gardner was. Pineda saved him from having video of looking around, dumbfounded, for the ball for what seemed like an hour from becoming a permanent part of Yankee/Sox lore.

    • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

      When did Kenny Rogers blatantly cheat against the Yankees? Wasn’t that in the 2006 World Series against the Cardinals?

      I’m embarrassed to be a Yankee fan all the time, but it’s not because of Michael Pineda.

      It’s because of you.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        2006 ALDS against the Yankees, too.

        • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

          Eh, whatever.

  • PunkPitch

    So he gives up a couple of runs in the first, then comes back in the second with a schmear, and that’s not a bagel mind you. It looks bad. It looks like he needs it for performance reasons. And I’m not buying the, “hey, I’m doing it so I don’t hurt someone BS”. This negates a lot of the good, the team built up till now. Someone should have gotten into his head, that this was a very bad idea. Plain and simple.

    • Larry B.

      I could see it being a confidence thing…but don’t buy the hype that it’s this big performance enhancer. It doesn’t change the movement of the pitches or anything. It just allows better grip. If a guy feels more comfortable he will probably feel more confident and pitch better…

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      This would all have been so much easier if they’d just found some tofu sun-dried tomato cream cheese on his neck.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Or if he mixed it with some artichoke and dipped a pita chip into his neck.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          A pita chip? That’s racist!

  • Josh S.

    I seem to remember Kenny Rogers using gunk on his hands during the playoffs some years back and no one but the media said anything even though it was blatantly obvious. So I guess its better that Farrell pointed this out in an April game rather than the post-season. That being said, I think that every time Lester and Buccholz face the Yankees, that Girardi has the ump check them for whatever crap they use (until the rule changes).

  • Now Batting

    Hopefully this causes the 91s and 92s of this start and the last creep back towards 95. I cringed seeing Pineda pitch in such cold weather.

  • will

    Pineda has a sweating problem. I understand how he feels, i have that same issue, even in cold weathers he sweats, just like he did in toronto. When you sweat like pineda does.. it drips off of you. That’s the bigger problem that i hope they can figure out, it’s going to get hot

    • PunkPitch

      Gonna let you in on a little secret – It’s called a resin bag. Apparently both you and Pineda have never heard of it.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Have you listened to Cone and Leiter talk about how helpful, or not, those things are on the games? I tend to believe them on this.

  • cooolbreeez

    It’s acceptable to hide the foreign substance and everyone knows it’s being used.

    But it’s not acceptable to have said substance in plain sight and everyone knows it’s being.

    So deceipt is good, lack of discretion is bad.

    I’d say a rule change is in order.

    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      This. The buzzword here and in every article floating around the interwebs today is ‘discreet.’ I say legalize it!!!

  • New Guy

    This was a realllyyyy stupid thing to do. It would have been better to get shelled then to get busted for really the second start in a row against the sox. Even better, he should have hit some one. THen have been like …”Well maybe if I had pine tar that wouldn’t have happened.” Anything but making your neck like Posada’s helmet. Jeez. So dumb.

  • Tom S.

    Somebody wanna tell me how the off day changes anything. He will miss 2 start, regardless of off days. He’s getting 10 games, not 10 days. Or am I missing something??

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      10 days, not 10 appearances. We also don’t know what he’s getting.

      • Tom S.

        It’s not 10 days, it’s 10 games, but I realize now the off day skips his turn. But you’re right, # of games hasn’t been handed down yet.

    • Tom S.

      Actually, I just realized that they would just skip his turn on the off day on Monday. Sorry.

  • BNJ

    The luckiest man on the field last night was Derek Jeter. All of this nonsense took the focus off of him. He can no longer play his position effectively on an MLB level. Hit, yes, field, no. Any movement to his left or right is now an adventure, not just a limitation. This will continue to be a problem all year.

    • Tom S.

      He had a bad day…it happens. He’s made a bunch of nice plays already this year. I realize the range is limited but I think you’re over-reacting a little.

  • LK

    I guess maybe I’ve got a little too much “if you’re not cheating you’re not trying” in me, but I can’t seem to bring myself to give a shit about this, at least from a moral perspective.

    It does suck that they’re now without both Nova and Pineda for at least the next couple turns, especially since they put all 3 of Warren, Phelps, and Nuno in the BP to start the year instead of keeping them on routine and stretched out in AAA.

    Also, sweet holy mother of shit-faced Babe Ruth was that dumb. How could no one in the organization have prevented this? Just really makes you question what in the hell everyone, from Girardi down to Pineda himself, was doing.

    Finally, for everyone calling for Girardi to have Buchholz/Lester/whoever checked next time, do you really expect that to work? I’m pretty sure after all this those guys will take care not to use anything against the Yanks since they’ll be expecting exactly that…you know, sort of like Pineda should’ve been expecting it last night.

    • Josh S.

      Having Buccholz / Lester checked is just gamesmanship. Not necessarily meant to catch them, but to maybe throw them off their game if they are cruising during a start. If their dumb enough to do it during a game against the Yankees, then all the better if they get caught and suspended.

  • WhittakerWalt

    Last night’s game was embarrassing for many reasons, but for me the worst was watching everyone in the lineup swing-and-miss at Lackey’s blazing 92 mph gas right down the middle. Were they all drunk or something?

    • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

      Yea, even without seeing the game, I’m much more pissed off that they couldn’t hit The Greatest Starting Pitcher in the History of Baseball than Pineda’s Boner.

  • kool beans

    How does the Brewer’s player (Maldonado?) only get 5 games for sucker-punching a guy in the face in a bench clearing brawl and Pineda get 10 games for PINE TAR???? Doesn’t make sense!

    • Steve

      Maldanado is a position player, so he’ll actually miss 5 games. Pineda misses 2 starts max and most likely only one start.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Has anything saying he got a ten-game suspension been posted anywhere?

    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      Dempster for 5 games and not even missing a start:
      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....8;c_id=mlb

  • Holy Ghost

    Last week he was Big Mike

    This week he’s Dumb Mike

  • RIVAN44

    Just checking…I watched the game and saw the video shots of his neck and heard all the conjecture,but I kept waiting for the video of him going to his neck. Did anyone show him applying the foreign substance to his hand and/or ball?

  • Rick

    “Do we have to question Pineda’s strong start to the season after this? I guess.”

    Why? Yes, he may pitch better when using pine tar than when not, but he’s allowed to use pine tar (not technically, but as a practical matter), so what should change to cause his performance to change? If we was using an emory board, and that was the key to his success, then sure you should question hisstrong start. In my view the only valid concern re performance is something you touch on later in your piece, which is wheher he’s going to be targeted to such an extent that he’ll be the onyl pitcher in baseball not “allowed” to use pine tar.

  • BobC

    Tell me something: how did he even get out of the dugout with a huge smear of pine tar on the side of his neck without anyone seeing it or saying something? I mean, there’s 30 odd people in there, and not one saw him do it? Maybe he grabbed a pine tar rag and went into the tunnel…and not one player, coach, or trainer saw it, and thought to say ‘hey man, what the hell are you doing??’? Or saw him come out, and thought to say ‘dude, be a bit more subtle about it, okay?’?

    It’s Pineda’s doing, but jeez, you’d think that in the confines of the dugout somebody saw what he was doing/did and would tell him to wipe it off, and smear it somewhere where you it wouldn’t be so obvious that it could be seen from the Monster seats.

  • The Oberamtmann

    I hope that if/when Girardi has a Bosox pitcher checked, it does not end with the ump saying “wash it off” a la Kenny Rogers.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner
  • ropeadope

    Who determines length of suspension? If Torre, expect eight to ten games. If Selig, expect 210 games, likely reduced to 162 games upon appeal.

    • King George

      Torre, from what I read

  • King George

    The only thing that drives me up the wall is that this is being referred to as cheating, almost in the same vein as steroids/PEDs, and it isn’t. Every pitcher will tell you it isn’t a big deal. Ultimately, MLB needs to address it and allow some sort of substance so long as it’s policed and not overdone. But to anyone out there who continues to call Pineda a cheater, stop. Is it a rule he broke? Sure. But is Michael Pineda enhancing his performance? Please.

    • King George

      Also, Michael Pineda is a dumbass for being so blatant about it. I’m not absolving him of any responsibility here.

  • Mike from Jersey

    All I have to say on this is when Buckhole pitches against us again, Girardi better have the umps check on the “hair jell” glistening from his head. Same stuff Vincente Padilla used. What’s worse, pine tar for grip or a “legal” spitball using lubricant? Yanks better get payback, although Pineda can not be accused of being a Rhode Scholar.

    • LarryM Fl

      Buckhole uses KY jelly as rumored through the clubhouse walls.

      • Deep Thoughts

        Low blow. What the man does with his rentboys on his own time, outside the lines, is his own business.

  • TWTR

    Thinking about this some more, if, as some have said, Cashman was criticizing the manager/coaches, and taking that together with the RS comments that the real issue is how blatant the use of pine tar was, maybe Cashman’s criticism is actually about his people not instructing Pineda about how to hide the pine tar properly.

  • itsallhowyouseeit

    He never went to his neck the entire inning. I know it was blatantly on his neck, but I hope MLB takes into consideration that there is no video evidence of him actually going to it and using it on the ball.

    • Holy Ghost

      Maybe he forgot it was on his neck?

  • LarryM Fl

    I understand the rule about foreign substance for the pitcher. I will get back to this point.

    I felt a little bad for Pineda. I wonder about his ability to understand and respond to his coaches and teammates on a technical level with regards to baseball. His interview impressed me as maybe he understands the rule but not the mechanics of getting around the rule as Bucholtz and Lackey have shown the ability and understanding. Listening to the questions asked of him and his responses made me concerned for his ability with the second language. I know some folks use their inability with the language to garner an advantage even for a brief moment. I did not come away with this thought while listening to Pineda.

    This is a team problem because somebody should have straighten this out with all issues and tricks known before he went into this game.

    MLB has to change the rule or move the dates of the games back to when the weather is conducive to playing baseball. The North and Northeast at this time of the year is still precarious for weather being good for baseball. This will not change so allow the pitcher to use pinetar. The batter is allowed to use pinetar to secure his bat. Most hitters have no problem with pinetar being used by the pitcher for their safety. 88-95 mph fastballs hurt when the come in contact with the body.

    We can justify his loss for two games if he is suspended for 10 games but I still can not wrap my head around it happening twice with the same opponent. Really I do not blame the Red Sox’s one bit. I blame whoever has some control, authority over Pineda’s baseball performance. Namely the coaching staff who are in charge of Pineda.

  • mt

    What still is unanswered is how adamantly and clearly Yankee coaches explained to him after the start against Boston about not using pine tar even when it was cold (or did they instead say: hide it better which could be left to an individual’s discretion) – That is the big unanaswered question – remember the first time evryone said it was “dirt” to the public.

    I do think this is where the language barrier may have come in a little if Yankees wanted to make it absolutely clear he should not use pine tar. If they did make it clear and he ignored them and did it anyway, I can see the Yankee coaches being privately very upset at Pineda.

    Remember Pineda piched against Cubs since the first incident with BoSox and there was no incident – maybe he didn’t use it because it was warm enough or may be he was thinking the scrutiny would die down if he skipped one start of using it.

    We may not have the right to question his intelligence but Pineda list of stupid actions is pretty long for such a young player who has not pitched all that much yet for Yanks: coming to camp very overweight; the DUI, and smearing pine tar on your neck after you were almost caught two weeks ago.

  • mt

    Also we are barking up the wrong tree in blaming Farrell or the Red Sox even if their pitchers do it and hide it better (their self-righteous, obnoxious fans trying to take any moral high ground are another story). Red Sox got Pineda out of game and used up bullpen – good for them.

    It would be like NBA coaches can never complain about an opposing player flopping just because one of their own players flops, like Lebron James.

  • dave m

    To me, this whole episode is an indictment of the incredibly crappy/frigid weather the northern part of the country has been subjected to this April.

    Also, is there a clear/transparent equivalent of pine tar out there?

  • Deep Thoughts

    Stephen Drew never would have allowed him to leave the dugout for the 2nd with that stuff on his neck.