Friday, April 11, 2014

One way to handle cheating

They Yankees beat the Red Sox last night. They cheated. The Red Sox TV crew noticed that the Yankees pitcher, Michael Pineda, had something on the heel of his hand. Pine tar probably. Sweat and dirt, he says. Dunno, says his manager.

In the fifth inning, it disappeared. Guess it must have gotten enough cooler as the evening wore on that he stopped sweating. Still, Mr. Pineda, I'd have your endocrine system checked out. Sweating like that isn't normal.

This has turned into a great moral debate in the media. My esteemed fellow blogger Richard Bradley, who has on other occasions taken cheating allegations very seriously, has a no-big-deal attitude this time.

He's right for a change.

Whether Pineda was disqualified or not would not have changed the outcome of the game. The Red Sox are not hitting.

Some Red Sox players even suggested they were glad Pineda was cheating, because that meant he would be less likely to lose control of one of his fast balls and bean somebody. Pretty generous, given that it also meant that his slider was more effective.

Like a lot of cheating, this is something for management to sort out. Farrell did not want to show up Girardi, not so much because "everybody does it" (they don't, to that degree), but because he knew that Girardi was on notice to fix the egregious cheating, and there was no reason to embarrass him or Pineda, or to cost Pineda a fine in the short run or a scarred reputation in the long run.

I'd say Farrell acted like a grown up, everybody on both teams learned a lesson, and nobody got hurt. Good.


  1. For the record, two Red Sox pitchers had issues with foreign substances on arms and gloves being detected via camera shots last year, including the pitcher from this game, Clay Buchholz (the other was Jon Lester in Game 1 of the World Series).

  2. It's only cheating if he applied it to the ball. It's not cheating if he applied it to his hands to get a better grip. The pictures prove nothing. Now if only he had to sign an honor code statement before delivering each pitch...

  3. Gaylord Perry threw a spitball (which is illegal) and even wrote a book about it and he is in the Hall of Fame. I don't think there was ever any debate to use his cheating as a reason to keep him out.

    When Barry Bonds goes up for the Hall of Fame his use of steroids (or alleged use?) will surely be an issue.

    The incident you describe is clearly on the Perry-side.

    While I probably think that Perry should be in the Hall and Bonds shouldn't, it does make you wonder- where is the line? Are there types of cheating between Perry and Bonds (an intermediary degree! Must exist by Ladner's theorem :-) ). Is there a slippery slope problem here?

    I agree that Pineda was handled correctly, but it does raise the question...

  4. Hi Harry, I came looking for your thoughts on Sterling before I shared mine with you. No thoughts yet? Look out for mine! I like what you wrote here, even though later on Pineda paid a price. Looks like fool me once, shame on you, fool me…well, y'know. Farrell knows how that goes and had enough.