The Baseball Controversy With A Fresh Pine Scent: Yankees’ Pineda Ejected For Foreign Substance

  • Rick Chandler

What’s that cologne you’re wearing, Michael Pineda? Smells like the woods.

The Yankees’ Pineda was ejected in the second inning of their game with the Red Sox tonight for having pine tar on his neck … heck, what’s wrong with that? I have some on my neck right now. The girls like it, and the bears love it.

How big of a deal is this?

In the bottom of the second inning, Yankees starter Michael Pineda was ejected when home-plate umpire Gerry Davis found a substance that looked a lot like pine tar on Pineda’s neck.

It was a surreal turn of events, considering all the pine tar controversy that ensued when the Red Sox faced Pineda on April 10. In that game, television cameras showed a substance on Pineda’s right palm and wrist area, but by the time Boston manager John Farrell was made aware of the situation, Pineda had cleaned up.

Apparently it’s not a huge issue among players, which doesn’t surprise me.

Next question: is it really cheating? Batters use pine tar liberally, and pitchers get to use the rosin bag. If the idea is to get a better grip on the ball, I don’t see a problem. But if it’s to actually make the ball move in an unusual fashion, then that’s different. Where it gets really dicey is when you have guys out there using Vaseline, or actually cutting the ball with sharp objects … I’m looking at you, Rick Honeycutt.

Three pitchers in the past 10 years have been suspended for doctoring baseballs with pine tar:

Joel Peralta, Rays, 2012: using pine tar on ball.
Brendan Donnelly, Angels, 2005: using pine tar on ball.
Julian Tavarez, Cardinals, 2004: using pine tar on ball.
Brian Moehler, Tigers, 1999: scuffing with sandpaper.
Joe Niekro, Twins, 1987: scuffing with emory board.
Kevin Gross, Phillies, 1983: scuffing with sandpaper.
Gaylord Perry, Mariners, 1982: using Vaseline on ball.
Jay Howell, Dodgers, 1982: using pine tar on ball.
Rick Honeycutt, Mariners, 1980: cutting ball with a thumbtack.

No word yet on what will happen to Pineda. As far as what happened to the Yankees, they lost 5-1.