Tampa Bay relief pitcher Joel Peralta is catching heat after being ejected for allegedly using pine tar during the eighth inning of the team's June 19 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Umpires reportedly found the pine tar after the Nationals requested Peralta's glove be examined shortly after he entered the game in the eighth inning. The glove was confiscated and Peralta was ejected.
In the sport of baseball, pine tar is usually applied to the handles of baseball bats because of its ability to improve a batter's grip, helping to prevent the bat from slipping out of the player's hands during hard swings.
The sticky material is also sometimes used by pitcher to improve grip on the ball, although some have argued whether it gives a pitcher any competitive advantage.
According to MLB Official Rules, the application of any foreign substance to a ball is expressly prohibited and can result in an automatic 10-game suspension.
Reuters is reporting that the Tampa Bay Rays and manager Joe Maddon were extremely unhappy with the decision to eject Peralta, saying that the Nationals were singling Peralta out because he had previously played with the team in 2010.
It's bogus, that's way too easy, Maddon told reporters. It's kind of a common practice that people have done this for years.
The Tampa Bay manager added, If you had done really good police work and noticed something from a distance that's one thing, but that's way too easy. To point one guy out because he had pitched there, where there's probably some common knowledge based on that, I thought it was a real cowardly move.
After Peralta's ejection, Maddon requested umpires check the glove of Washington reliever Ryan Mattheus in the ninth, though they did not find any pine tar.
When asked to comment on the ejection, Peralta said that he played one year here and did my best to win games. I don't care what they do. Good for them, they still lost the game.
Baseball fans might recall one of the most famous examples of an MLB pine tar incident during the July 24, 1983 game between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees, in which George Brett hit a home run, to put the Royals up 5-4.
Former Yankees manager, Billy Martin, immediately protested that Brett's bat had more than 18 inches of pine tar. The umpires called Brett out and nullified the home run.