If you're waiting for punishment to rain down upon New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda after he appeared to smother his pitching hand in pine tar Thursday night, it's not going to happen.
Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, issued a statement Friday that gave Pineda a pass:
“The umpires did not observe an application of a foreign substance during the game and the issue was not raised by the Red Sox. Given those circumstances, there are no plans to issue a suspension, but we intend to talk to the Yankees regarding what occurred.”
As The Stew wrote Thursday night, this sort of thing happens all the across MLB, and it's accepted by players, managers and, ultimately, those who govern the game, so long as nobody makes a fuss about it. We've had other ball-doctoring controversies recently, and nothing happened then either.
Pineda said after the game it was dirt on his hand, because that's what pitchers are supposed to say in this situation, but nobody with a working set of eyes believed him. Doesn't really matter, though, does it? Baseball's unwritten code says it's OK, so it's OK.
There are certainly more discreet ways to get a better grip on the ball than what Pineda did — we whole-heartedly recommend Jeff Passan's column on the in's and out's of pitcher cheating, if you enjoy the subject — but even being as blatant as Pineda isn't going to trigger discipline from the league or objection from opposing hitters. David Ortiz of the Red Sox said it wasn't a big deal and Dustin Pedroia said it was a non-issue.
The take away here? It seems like a pitcher would need to actually bring a can of pine tar or a bottle of sunscreen to the mound and slowly apply it so everyone can see, then — maybe — baseball might care.
Otherwise, it's all in the game.
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