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. Tigers acquire closer Joakim Soria from the Rangers

    Jul 23, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    joakim soria getty Getty Images

    Kyle Bogenschutz of Scout.com and Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket reports that the Tigers have acquired reliever Joakim Soria from the Rangers for pitching prospects Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi says the deal is only pending physical exams.

  2. Theo Epstein on Cardinals’ competitive balance pick: “Last organization that needs an annual gift”

    Jul 23, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT

    theo epstein getty Getty Images

    As we covered earlier, St. Louis got a bonus pick for the 2015 First-Year Player Draft (just after the first round) in Wednesday’s Competitive Balance Lottery. And it’s not sitting too well with an executive of the Cardinals’ traditional rival — Cubs president Theo Epstein.

  3. Video: Yadier Molina leaves peanut butter crackers at home plate for his older brother Jose

    Jul 23, 2014, 8:58 PM EDT

    yadier molina getty Getty Images

    Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who’s currently rehabbing from thumb surgery, sent a couple packs of crackers to home plate Wednesday for his older brother Jose.

  4. Phillies officials “have contemplated the possibility of paying off” and releasing Ryan Howard

    Jul 23, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT

    ryan howard getty Getty Images

    CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury has heard from sources that the Phillies are considering cutting ties with struggling first baseman Ryan Howard after this season, despite the fact that he’s owed $60 million in guaranteed money.

  5. Pirates place Starling Marte on concussion disabled list

    Jul 23, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT

    marte getty Getty Images

    Pirates outfielder Starling Marte took a pitch off his helmet last Friday night. A concussion was initially ruled out — the Bucs were instead calling it “head trauma” — but now there’s this …

  6. Cardinals move Shelby Miller back into rotation and Carlos Martinez back to the bullpen

    Jul 23, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    shelby miller getty Getty Images

    As first reported by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have decided to move Shelby Miller back into the starting rotation and Carlos Martinez to the bullpen for their upcoming three-game series at Wrigley Field. Miller will start Saturday afternoon against the Cubs.

  7. Pitchers who leave the Diamondbacks get better. Pitchers they acquire get worse.

    Jul 23, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT

    diamondbacks logo small

    Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has some enlightening numbers about what’s gone wrong with the Diamondbacks.

  8. Quadriceps injury shuts down Astros rookie slugger George Springer

    Jul 23, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    George Springer George Springer

    Springer got off to a slow start following his mid-April call-up and his strikeout total leads the league, but he’s smacked 20 homers with a .900 OPS in 61 games since early May to rank as one of the league’s better all-around players during that span.

  9. Twins designate Matt Guerrier for assignment

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    matt-guerrier-twins Getty Images

    Matt Guerrier began this week with a nice-looking 2.67 ERA in 26 appearances for the Twins, but a 12/8 K/BB ratio in 27 innings showed that he was anything but impressive.

  10. Carlos Ruiz rejoins Phillies after concussion

    Jul 23, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Carlos Ruiz Carlos Ruiz

    Ruiz hit poorly on a minor-league rehab assignment at Single-A, going 3-for-17 (.176) with three strikeouts and one walk in five games, but he’s avoided any post-concussion symptoms and the Phillies are convinced he’s ready to return.

  11. Cameron Maybin suspended for 25 games for amphetamines

    Jul 23, 2014, 3:10 PM EDT

    cameron maybin getty Getty Images

    I’m guessing this is not a prank by the Padres minor leaguers.

  12. Kelly Johnson goes on Yankees’ disabled list with groin injury

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:48 PM EDT

    Kelly Johnson Yankees Getty Images

    Kelly Johnson isn’t as needed in the Yankees’ lineup following the trade for Chase Headley and now he won’t be available at all for a while, as the utility man has been placed on the disabled list with a strained groin.

  13. Nationals place Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list

    Jul 23, 2014, 1:23 PM EDT

    Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals

    As expected Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has been placed on the disabled list after injuring his hamstring during last night’s game.

  14. The dizzying intellect of Tom Glavine

    Jul 23, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    Braves v Yankees X Getty Images

    Tom Glavine crafted his Hall of Fame career with plenty of skill and wit.

  15. Jeff Francoeur, now an outfielder/pitcher, gets call up to Padres

    Jul 23, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT

    jeff francoeur getty Getty Images

    After back-to-back terrible seasons Jeff Francoeur’s chances of returning to the majors looked so bleak that last month he decided to take up pitching at Triple-A for the Padres’ affiliate, but now San Diego is actually calling him up and presumably he’ll mostly serve as an outfielder.

Featured video

Teams searching for trade deadline impact
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3763)
  2. C. Lee (2786)
  3. T. Tulowitzki (2663)
  4. H. Ramirez (2638)
  5. C. Headley (2522)
  1. Y. Puig (2514)
  2. B. Belt (2380)
  3. T. Walker (2115)
  4. D. Uggla (2039)
  5. A. Rios (2006)