I don't judge cheaters. As a New England Patriots fan, it would be bad form for me to act all high and mighty when a team I don't support is caught breaking the rules. I will not morally judge Michael Pineda or the New York Yankees for rules violations. Some in Boston are already acting all morally outraged, as if Pineda is the only pitcher who uses a foreign substance to treat the ball, and as if the Red Sox pitching staff isn't obsessive-compulsive about the sunscreen they use.
What pisses me off is how brazenly Pineda sported his pine tar cologne. It was a massive "fuck you" to the Red Sox and to the art of cheating. It's like Jose Canseco getting steroid injections in his butt during the 7th inning stretch, or Sammy Sosa weighing his corked bat in the dugout in front of everyone beat the Yankees 5-1.
I'm also pissed at the game of baseball. I hate how the umpires can clearly see this and yet won't do a single thing unless prodded by a manager. Isn't it the umpire's job to enforce the rules? And doesn't this policy of "See Something, Say Nothing" allow for rampant cheating to occur? Isn't that essentially what happened with steroids and HGH? No team called out other teams for using PEDs, so baseball turned a blind eye. And yet now the game is being sanctimonious about purity when it comes to Hall of Fame voting. "You were cheating, nobody called you out because they didn't want to expose their own players who were cheating, but nevertheless, you can't come to Cooperstown!"
I'm sure the Red Sox have pitchers who use foreign substances. After this game when John Farrell was asked about teams scrutinizing his own pitchers, he never once said "We have nothing to worry about, our pitchers don't do this."
None of the assembled media had the stones to ask "How come you did this when John Lackey was on the mound and not Clay Buchholz?" That was THE question to ask. Nobody asked it.
Also, how hypocritical is it for Jerry Remy to criticize Joe Girardi for letting his pitcher go out onto the mound with pine tar on his neck? Remy let his woman-beating son go out into the world and beat the crap out of women, eventually killing one. And now Rem-Dawg is going to take a moralistic stand on letting a pitcher go to the mound with pine tar on his neck?
I don't blame the Red Sox for calling out Pineda. He was blatant, he was disrespectful to the ancient art of baseball cheating. Baseball cheaters are to American history what ninjas are to Japanese history. Cheating is an integral part of baseball.
Have you ever heard of Mike "King" Kelly? He was the first truly big baseball star, playing back in the 1880s, and played for a few years in Boston for the team that would one day become the Braves. Back when there was only one umpire on the field, he would run from first to third, right across the diamond, when the ump wasn't looking. He's praised for that now, lauded and applauded. Revered and cheered. Cheating and baseball have been partners since baseball came to be.
At the same time, being caught cheating in baseball is one of the game's mortal sins. Most of the time.
In the case of Michael Pineda, I think the punishment of ejection fits the crime. The crime wasn't cheating, it was the way he cheated. He could have slathered pine tar inside his glove, on his hat, underneath a sleeve. Anywhere. He was lazy. He cheated in plain sight.
It's like if you've snuck a few nips into a sporting event or concert, and instead of buying a Coke and going to the bathroom to mix the soda with your Jim Beam, you do it in front of a security guard or a cop. What do you expect after that?
Breaking the rules is part of the American Way. Our country was founded by rule breakers. But be discreet about it. Paul Revere didn't tell the British in Boston "Hey I'm going for a ride for a few hours, see you motherfucking lobsterbacks tomorrow!" The American Way is to break the rules without being obvious about it. The American Way is to write your own rules and to not be caught breaking any other rules.
Welcome to America, Pineda, where cheating is tolerated, so long as you're not obvious about it.
Elise Amendola/Associated Press