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

gooden

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Rangers option Chi Chi Gonzalez back to Triple-A

    Jul 4, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Chi Chi Gonzalez Chi Chi Gonzalez

    Chi Chi Gonzalez posted good results in his first seven major league starts, but he’ll cede his rotation spot to Matt Harrison and head back to Triple-A.

  2. Video: Kris Bryant hits a grand slam as part of a two-homer, six-RBI night

    Jul 4, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Kris Bryant Kris Bryant

    Kris Bryant had a monster night at the plate on Saturday against the Marlins.

  3. Marlins option Jarred Cosart to Triple-A, will activate Michael Morse on Sunday

    Jul 4, 2015, 10:26 PM EDT

    Jarred Cosart Jarred Cosart

    Jarred Cosart had a rough outing on Saturday and will try to straighten things out at Triple-A.

  4. Orioles activate Jonathan Schoop, option Ryan Flaherty to Triple-A

    Jul 4, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Jonathan Schoop Jonathan Schoop

    The Orioles got Jonathan Schoop back after nearly three months. They sent Ryan Flaherty to Triple-A to make room for him.

  5. Report: The Braves continue to shop Chris Johnson

    Jul 4, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    chris johnson getty Getty Images

    The Braves are trying to shop an expensive, ineffective Chris Johnson.

  6. The Twins signed Scott Atchison to a minor league deal

    Jul 4, 2015, 9:07 PM EDT

    Scott Atchison Scott Atchison

    The Twins added some bullpen depth in signing Scott Atchison to a minor league deal.

  7. The Giants attempted to pick off Bryce Harper by bringing in their center fielder

    Jul 4, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Bryce Harper

    The Giants tried to get creative to catch Bryce Harper napping off of second base.

  8. Rockies activate John Axford from the family medical emergency list

    Jul 4, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    John Axford John Axford

    John Axford is back with the Rockies, ready to continue closing out games.

  9. Twins move Trevor May to the bullpen to make room for Ervin Santana

    Jul 4, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Ervin Santana Ervin Santana

    Ervin Santana is back. Trevor May’s rotation spot has been freed up to make room for him.

  10. Video: Avisail Garcia robs Chris Davis of a game-tying home run in the ninth inning

    Jul 4, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 31:  Avisail Garcia #26 of the Chicago White Sox runs out a hit against the Boston Red Sox during the seventh inning of the game at Fenway Park on August 31 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Avisail Garcia robbed Chris Davis of a home run. It was as glorious as it sounds.

  11. Cubs place David Ross on 7-day concussion disabled list

    Jul 4, 2015, 5:28 PM EDT

    CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 25: David Ross #3 of the Chicago Cubs works behind the plate during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field on June 25, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Dodgers defeated the Cubs 4-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Ross, 38, is batting .189/.302/.284 over 87 plate appearances this season.

  12. Matt Holliday could rejoin the Cardinals next week

    Jul 4, 2015, 4:25 PM EDT

    matt holliday getty Getty Images

    Matt Holliday has been sidelined since June 8 with a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps muscle.

  13. Video: Alex Avila falls into stands to make excellent catch

    Jul 4, 2015, 3:18 PM EDT

    alex avila

    Miguel Cabrera is going to be missed while he’s out with a Grade 3 strain of his left calf, but the Tigers are getting by just fine so far this afternoon against the Blue Jays.

  14. Orioles move struggling Bud Norris to the bullpen

    Jul 4, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 29:  Bud Norris #25 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 29, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Norris has a 6.79 ERA over 11 starts this season.

  15. Woman sues Marlins after shark mascot attack

    Jul 4, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    marlins logo wide

    Beth Fedornak claims to have suffered “permanent or continuing injuries in her neck and back” as a result of the mascot’s actions.

  16. Stephen Strasburg exits start with tightness in left side

    Jul 4, 2015, 12:39 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 04:  Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals pitches in the first inning during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on July 4, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg exited today’s start against the Giants in the top of the fourth inning due to an apparent injury to his left side.

  17. Bryce Harper homers with Fourth of July-themed bat

    Jul 4, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT

    harper 2

    It’s only noon on the East Coast, but Nationals slugger Bryce Harper is already setting off fireworks.

  18. In the wake of the Miguel Cabrera injury the Tigers have few good options

    Jul 4, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT

    Miguel Cabrera Getty Images

    The Tigers have no great internal options to replace Miguel Cabrera and not much with which to trade.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3396)
  2. J. Ellsbury (3238)
  3. M. Moore (3126)
  4. M. Sano (2998)
  5. M. Cain (2758)
  1. P. Corbin (2727)
  2. S. Gray (2501)
  3. B. Harper (2452)
  4. C. Dickerson (2388)
  5. J. Soler (2340)