Unless you have been under a rock in Nats Town, you know by now that in the bottom of the eighth inning of last night’s 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Washington Nationals facilitated in the ejection of relief pitcher Joel Peralta in what was quite a crazy scene.
Before the beginning of the inning, Nats skipper Davey Johnson asked home plate umpire Tim Tschida to take a look at Peralta’s glove. Tschida quickly investigated the mitt and found a “foreign substance,” either on, or inside of it. Peralta was thrown out of the game, the glove was confiscated, and the temperature at field level was immediately raised as Rays’ manager Joe Madden was not happy about what went down in a rare road trip to Washington.
What makes last night’s situation particularly juicy is that Peralta, the Rays’ set-up man, had previously pitched for the Nationals in 2010. While the team has changed dramatically since that time, there are still a handful of players and coaches that would have been former teammates of Peralta, and very may well have known firsthand about his “pitching aids.”
So if someone on Washington snitched, which it would seem like they must have, did they break an unwritten rule of baseball? We all know that players look out for each other; they are binded by silent agreements not to show each other up, not to actively harm one another. But are there rules about protecting cheaters? The steroid era would suggest so, but the game has come a long way since the late 1990’s and fans, players, and the media saw firsthand what happens when you let a bad thing get out of hand.
But last night’s actions were hardly done for the sake of “the integrity of the game.” The Nats are in the midst of the losing streak, and for sure this was done more as an action to gain the tiniest advantage in a game where the Nats were on pace to lose. Ultimately the move did not help them come from behind to win the game, and the real result will likely be a suspension for Peralta, which will in no way help the Nats in the long run. It was a power move, a power move that didn’t have enough weight behind it to make a difference.
Cheating is cheating, there is no question about that. As a young fan who grew up during the steroid era, I struggled as the men who I considered heroes fell from grace as shriveled shells of their former selves in court rooms. I have no patience for cheating, and I want it removed completely from the game. But if Peralta did use foreign substances in his glove to help give him an advantage in 2010, and the Nationals allowed it then, how could they possibly cry foul in 2012 when the situation was reversed? If you allow your own players to cheat (which I’m sure most if not all of the teams in baseball do), you can’t call out those players for doing the same thing while on another team. You just can’t.
Now, it very well could be the case that someone in the Washington organization became aware of Peralta’s exploits and forbade him from doing it while on the Nats. A betting man would say that if he a player tries to cheat for one organization, and is not allowed, he will again try to the same exploits when he moves to his new club. Unfortunately, if we do know one thing about insider baseball rules, we will not know the truth behind this story for at least a decade.
In spite of your speculation and "ifs", Johnson admitted last night that his knowledge of Peralta's use of pine tar was from someone who worked w/ Peralta when he was a Nat. I believe Johnson's attempt to derail the Rays victory will result in his own players dishonesty w/ him. Dishonesty ultimately leads to despair and a quick tumble down hill soon follows.
Internet chatter of retaliation by either team is pure speculation. The Rays have a history of not retaliating. I'm not familiar enough with the Nats to comment on history. As a knowledgeable fan of the game, by alienating a former player, a "friend", Davey Johnson effectively succeeded in alienating his current players. I can not imagine any of the Nats team mates will retaliate if instructed to do so. Davey Johnson may not have faith in the integrity of players, but intelligent fans do.
@CapitolNatsJoe @TheNatsBlog They don't come more old school than Davey and Frank--and Billy Martin. So those guys broke an unwritten rule?
@CharlieDaveArmy @CapitolNatsJoe @TheNatsBlog I have never heard of not calling out cheaters as being an unwritten rule.
@DavidHuzzard The point isn't that they called him out. It's that if they knew because they were former teammates, what's the line there?
@DavidHuzzard Again, I'm not advocating it. But it's clear that people don't tend to get called on these things.
@DavidHuzzard Look at it this way. There have to be at least several dozen pitchers who do this. None get called out. People know.
@TheNatsBlog plus this was one pitcher in one game not something that ended up changing the landscape of baseball.
@TheNatsBlog According to guys like Glavine they wanted to speak up but the union wouldn't let them.
@DavidHuzzard So where were the people calling out McGwire and Bonds for steroids? I'm not saying its wrong or right. But it simply, is.
@TheNatsBlog it is the team's job to not let someone have an unfair advantage. This isn't South Central LA.
@DavidHuzzard I think "snitching," if that is what happened, is stigmatized in just about every culture. Not specific to baseball.
@DavidHuzzard @CapitolNatsJoe @TheNatsBlog And I'll put Davey&Frank&BillyMartin's playing/managing careers up against @RaysJoeMaddon any day
@TheNatsBlog It`s called tradition and plugged bats were also tradition until they were caught. ) : ----------