The war of words in Pine Tar Gate escalated following Tuesday’s incident where Rays reliever and former Nationals pitcher Joel Peralta was ejected for an “excessive amount of a foreign substance in or around his glove”, according to the umpiring crew.
The umpires were tipped off when Nationals manager Davey Johnson asked that Peralta’s glove be checked for pine tar. Apparently, Davey found out through someone in the Nationals dugout that Peralta may have pine tar in his glove, which is banned according to major league baseball rules.
Today, Rays manager Joe Maddon had a chance to hold court on the “sticky” situation.
“This is all in the hands of major league baseball so it is up to them to come to the next conclusion,” said Maddon.
OK, that is all well and good. But then Maddon had a warning for future free agents thinking about D.C. that will undoubtedly bounce off the top step of Capitol Hill.
“Just looking down the road if I am a major league player that may happen to want to come play for the Nationals, I may want to think twice about it under the circumstances. This is one of their former children here that had really performed well and all of sudden he is going to come back to this town and they are going to rat on him based on some inside information.”
Johnson said that Maddon needs to “read the rule book” concerning to Peralta’s possible use of pine tar illegally on his glove.
“I understand that,” Maddon reacted. “Davey is right. I am incapable of reading the rule book. And there is also reading between the lines in some situations that needs to be looked at too. He has been around long enough, he knows better than that.”
Johnson said he wasn’t going to engage in a shouting match with Maddon because the Rays manager is on “Tweeter” and has more followers.
“Most men have tweeters,” joked Maddon. “I would never use my tweeter to an unfair advantage.”
Maddon said his point was that if the crew had seen Peralta violate a rule, they should have approached the pitcher instead of Johnson inquiring.
“If the umpires had just seen it and called him on it, that’s fine,” Maddon continued. “Because that is their job. The umpires are out there to enforce the rules. So, if the umpires had seen something of their own volition or of their own detective work, I am fine with that. But to utilize information based on the fact that the guy had played here. I don’t know if that is a form of cheating or what, that is really underhanded I believe to use that kind of information.”
Maddon believed the Nationals did not look long and hard to the ramifications of questioning whether Peralta had violated a baseball rule and how that would affect his and the Rays’ future.
“Joel is going to be suspended for this,” Maddon said. “We are going to be injured by this. It is kind of a cavalier moment on their part, not understanding the ramifications for this young man’s career and what it can do to us personally, as a group and as an organization. And the fact that it is not an isolated incident within this industry.”
Maddon also intimated that Johnson was trying to bully the Rays a bit with a power play.
“I think it was an attempt to indicate a higher form of baseball intellect,” Maddon said.
“Baseball players throughout history have always had an amazing way to police themselves. I think the policing themselves component we should stay away from. Let the players take care of things. It happens for a long time.”
But the bottom line, and Johnson said this yesterday as well, Maddon was protecting his players, and he continued that rhetoric today.
“I am defending my guys,” Maddon said. “Under all circumstances, I will defend my guys. Like I said before, we don’t start stuff, but we will finish stuff.”
But asked later he said this incident is over in this series.
“For me it is done. I had my say, I said what I had to say last night.”