(Not Joel Peralta, but Burleigh Grimes)
Last night, with the Nationals squaring off against the Rays, Davey Johnson asked umpires to inspect Joel Peralta’s person for foreign substances. And sure enough, they found plenty of pine tar, far too much to have been there accidentally, like if Joel Peralta had rubbed against a giant vat of pine tar and didn’t realize it.
Peralta was booted from the game. And that should have been the end of it, with Peralta being forced to take a suspension so he could think about what he did wrong. Because Peralta broke a rule and was caught.
But, see, here’s the complicated thing: Joel Peralta used to pitch for the Nationals. If anyone should know if he was a chronic abuser of pine tar, it would be that team. And Davey Johnson, unless he can smell pine tar, used that insider information to bust Peralta. And that made Joe Maddon angry. Very angry:
“It was kind of a p***y move to go out there and do that under those circumstances. I like the word p***y move.”
“It’s kind of a common practice that people have done this for years. To point one guy out because he had pitched here a couple of years it’s probably common knowledge based on that.”
Joe has a very strange sense of morals. When the Red Sox and Rays recently got into a beanball war, Joe defended his players who just so happened to hit the Red Sox, but nearly lost his mind when Boston retaliated.
So while Davey Johnson may have broken an unwritten baseball rule when asking the umps to check Joel Peralta’s glove, the simple fact is that Peralta was breaking an actual, written rule.
Until baseball decides to allow spitballs back into the game, Joe Maddon’s anger is unfounded. And if truly every player was using a foreign substance, well, Joe, you have every right to ask the umpires to go and ask what’s under their cap, becoming baseball’s Elliot Ness, smashing bottles of pine tar all over the city streets.