Skip to content

Doc Gooden calls B.S. on people saying pine tar is just to help pitchers get a grip on the ball

Apr 24, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT


I’m still laughing at the fact that the same people who have been on my case for years for my suggestion that not all cheating is dastardly — and that, maybe, we should judge the effect and intent of people breaking the rules before castigating them — either minimizing what Michael Pineda did last night or claiming that his real transgression was the obvious manner in which he used the foreign substance as opposed to the fact that he used a foreign substance.

The analogy that some are using — I saw Tom Verducci use it on the Dan Patrick Show anyway — is that Pineda was “doing 56 in a 55.” This is simply wrong. The rule against foreign substances on baseballs is designed to keep pitchers from getting an unfair advantage over hitters by giving them better stuff on the ball. In this it is no different than any other rule designed to stop cheating in order to get an unfair advantage, be it corked bats or, yes, PEDs. All of those, we usually agree, are serious transgressions against a level playing field. Say, going 90 in a 55. And it’s no less of a ticket if you go 90 in a 55 in a Buick than if you do it in a Cadillac.

Moreover, the “everyone does it” thing we’ve been hearing since last night never seems to wash when I mention that, when Barry Bonds played, everyone was doing PEDs. Not sure why it washes now. Maybe there shouldn’t be a rule against pine tar for pitchers — I’d really like MLB to examine whether it’s necessary and whether the claim that all pitchers use it to “get a better grip” is really why they use it — but until the rule is off the books, it’s still a violation and shouldn’t be getting the eye-rolls it’s getting now. Or, if it does, other rules violations that “everyone does” and that have innocent motivations even if there are some competitive benefits (say, HGH for recovering from injuries) should be getting the same treatment.

Maybe the first step to all of that is to actually cut through what I suspect — but can’t really know for sure — is a heavy dollop of B.S. when it comes to the “I just use it to get a grip on cold nights; I don’t want to hit any batters” excuse no one seems to want to criticize. Well, no one except an actual major league pitcher who knows a thing or two about this stuff:

I don’t think using pine tar is a capital case — ten games is probably right, I suppose — but it is against the rules. And why now, after so many years of having people bleat about how hitters trying to get advantages over pitchers threatened the very soul of baseball, I don’t have a ton of patience for people saying pitchers trying to do the same thing is no big deal.

  1. dglelite - Apr 24, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    looks…by the rules…it is considered cheating.
    if everyone is doing…STOP IT!
    If to stop it it requires more suspensions…SUSPEND

    but lets be real…10 games is NOTHING…especially for a starting pitcher…what is that? Two starts?

    That is why rules must be amended to cater to everyday players, relief pitchers and starting pitchers.

    10 games to a relief can be huge on a team.
    10 games to an everyday player…can be critical
    10 games to a starter…meh…a team can get by…not much of a detriment

    • djpostl - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      Yeah, it’s not like the last several years have seen one game decide if a team makes the post-season or they get to sit at home in October or anything.

      One start can be a big deal, no matter how someone tries to downplay it all.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 25, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      If everyone is doing it, is it still cheating? If everyone is doing it, then the playing field remains level and no pitching staff has an advantage over another pitching staff. The smart thing would be to assess the real effect of different types of gripping agents and decide which are allowable and which are not. If all of the players and all of the coaches and all of the umpires are OK with guys using concealed pine tar or sunscreen, then the “concealed” part is what needs to change.

  2. Carl Hancock - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:27 PM

    Doc knows a thing or two about blow.

  3. righthandofjustice - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    “Maybe the first step to all of that is to actually cut through what I suspect — but can’t really know for sure — is a heavy dollop of B.S”

    Yes, that’s B.S. Back in the time when Giamatti and Vincent were commissioners umpires always checked the ball and the pitcher’s gloves and pockets. Now, we have a Commissioner B.S. in the office. The umpires were even instructed to tell the reporters they didn’t check for cheating even if it was completely obvious because nobody asked them to.

    To remove this kind of cheating B.S., MLB needs to remove that B.S. in the office of the commissioner.

  4. disgracedfury - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Listen if 99% of picthers say it’s not a big deal than I’m gonna believe them over bloggers.Pine Tar is only there to help you grip which of course helps you pitchout it doesn’t make the baseball move any better.

    No one has a problem besides fans that he used pine tar just that he was was stupid in the way he did it.

    • beermakers - Apr 25, 2014 at 12:58 AM

      Pine tar make a pitcher with not so great grip, turn his hanging curveballs that would get crushed, into a pitch that has some pretty good movement..

      That’s probably why 99% of the pitchers think its not a big deal.

    • acepicker4 - Apr 25, 2014 at 7:47 AM

      No one has a problem with it (managers, GMs, players) because they know their pitchers do it too and they don’t want them to get caught and suspended. Its an illegal advantage and its time to implement measures (umpires checks, stiffer penalties) to put a stop to it.

  5. sumkat - Apr 25, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    Any chance you get to try to justify roid heads, huh Craigh?

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (2752)
  2. B. Crawford (2596)
  3. Y. Puig (2441)
  4. G. Springer (2336)
  5. C. Correa (2237)
  1. H. Ramirez (2221)
  2. J. Fernandez (2118)
  3. J. Hamilton (2109)
  4. D. Wright (2106)
  5. H. Pence (2086)