Old Guy Fights: When Is Cheating Really Cheating?
The game of baseball is one of nuance and subtlety, where the majority of the game is absolutely nothing happening. It’s mired in its own history, constantly coming up with obscure records, refusing modern quibbles like instant replay, because the old guys making bad calls is an integral part of the game. It’s a difficult game to bring someone new into if they haven’t grown up appreciating the sport, and the overwhelming number of “unwritten rules” that old-school baseball minds can’t get enough of.
Currently not helping matters is the feud brewing between managers Joe Maddon of Tampa Bay and Davey Johnson of Washington. Johnson called out Rays reliever Joel Peralta for having a “foreign substance” on his glove during a game that got Peralta ejected and now the cries of foul play will not stop coming…from the Rays. Wait, what?
Maddon was furious after the game, calling Johnson’s actions “cowardly,” “bush” and “bogus.” Johnson knew about the pine tar because had inside information on Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals in 2010.
Johnson: “Any time there’s a rule violation, as far as I’m concerned, it’s just a rule violation. My only comment to him is read the rulebook. It’s simple.”
Maddon: “I totally understand that. Davey’s right. I’m incapable of reading the rulebook, and there’s also reading between the lines in some situations that needs to be looked at, too. He’s been around long enough; he knows better than that.”
Johnson, on whether he has any intention of meeting with Maddon: “No, I don’t know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss anyway, so no.”
So the manager of the guy who got caught cheating is claiming being wronged and cheated by the guy who turned in the guy who was cheating. But it’s cool, cause the whistle-blower didn’t want to be friends with that “weird wuss” anyways. Baseball is an odd game.
Maddon’s main gripe is that the only reason Johnson knew to ask the ump to check Peralta’s glove is because he coached Peralta when he pitched for Washington in 2010. According to Maddon, a person who benefited from one person’s cheating should not be able call foul when that person cheats for someone new. Which…makes sense, I guess?
If it’s in the rulebook, as Davey (and by the way, an elderly man named “Davey” is just ridiculous) so eloquently pointed out, then why didn’t he tell him to knock it off when he was coming out of the Nats’ bullpen? But that’s just getting into semantics and a logic loop that may not ever end, and the fact of the matter remains: Peralta cheated.
Maddon contends that the act isn’t what’s important, it’s the unwritten code broken by Johnson that’s the real issue, calling for all future potential National players to “think twice” before signing there because Johnson is going to betray you once you leave…you know, if you’re a cheater that is. If you aren’t smearing greasy, sticky, or otherwise illegal substances on hidden locations of your uniform, you’ll probably be cool.
The Rays skipper went on to say the substance, which turned out to be pine tar (a ridiculously copious amount of it) doesn’t do anything for his performance. It’s just for “grip,” according to Maddon, and doesn’t do anything for movement, just helping the pitcher control where the ball is going better. So, a pitcher being able to throw with greater accuracy is NOT considered increased performance? Man, the Rays have weird metrics for measuring their pitchers.
Cheating has been around for as long as baseball players learned how to do it. I learned about it as a kid watching Walter Matthau show Tatum O’Neal how vaseline under your cap could give you an extra six inches on your curve ball. But to play the victim when you get caught like Maddon and Peralta have done? That’s a clown move, bro.