On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS May 12, 2014 #488 Up next…CLEAR RULES?
After further review…One of the reasons many people – young and old alike –admire the sports world is that it runs by a set of clear rules. Players just can’t appear on the field or court and express any behavioral whim that they feel. Although it might be wished that society’s rules and norms were more uniformly observed, there is a compensatory civility and a dedication to common sense built right into sports. Officials are in place to penalize or prevent any disregard of the set rules. Thus the integrity of the games is insured.
Early in Major League Baseball’s 2014 season we’ve seen some extravagant challenges to the rules for the sake of an advantage. One took place in a recent game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. MLB Rule 8.02(a) (2-6) Page 75 states “the pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball”. I wonder what part of that rule Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda didn’t understand?
Pineda had a patch of pine tar a woolly mammoth could have disappeared in under his right ear, and it earned him a 10-day suspension. Maybe Pineda just didn’t understand the importance of discretion. His own team had earlier warned him that opponents were sure to notice his free use of the sticky stuff if he didn’t lighten up. (Pine tar enhances fingertip grip, and therefore spin, for pitchers relying on sinking or breaking balls.)
Pineda was sheepishly reported by Red Sox manager John Farrell, who complained to plate umpire Gerry Davis during the second inning of that game. After an almost comical, 360 degree exam of Pineda by Davis, the Yankees pitcher was ejected – embarrassing for all concerned. The rule is routinely broken but even so, a secondary unofficial rule comes into play: don’t be brazen enough to get caught. It’s a bizarre rule that only baseball folks can understand.
Who really knows what constitutes cheating anymore? Pitchers have substances under their sleeves or in their gloves. Catchers hide pine tar on their shin guards, then rub some on the ball before returning it to the pitcher. It seems that the number one defense is to proclaim that “everybody does it.” Huh?
Will you log-in on how bizarre rules ought to be enforced?
Jim’s new book “101 Best of Tunney Side of Sports is available at tunneysideofsports.com