The Washington Nationals are taking heat for Tuesday’s ejection of Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta for excessive pine tar on his glove, the definitive comment came from manager Joe Maddon who calls the Nats cowardly for their actions.
“There’s also reading between the lines in some situations,” Maddon said.
That came in response to Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson’s suggestion that Maddon “read the rulebook” if he has issues with the Nationals asking for an inspection of Peralta’s glove as he entered the game in the eighth inning.
That the oblique comment from Maddon is the one to which we should pay the most heed is quite the leap, considering the vitriol being tossed about Wednesday.
Johnson referred to Maddon as a “weird wuss” and “the guru” during the day-after recriminations; Maddon suggested the Nationals’ tactics would hinder improving their team.
But like so much in baseball, what goes on between the white lines is directly connected to Maddon’s “between the lines.”
Regardless of whose side you come down on, the real debate is over a familiar baseball topic — the game’s unwritten rules.
“Baseball players throughout history have always had this ability and way to police themselves,” Maddon says. “The policing component of this game, I think you should stay away from. Let the players take care of it. It’s happened for a long time.”
That policing — of matters ranging from stealing signs to doctoring balls or bats — usually takes the form of pitches near a batter or maybe a hard slide into a defender.
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker, whose running feud with Cleveland Indians pitcher Derek Lowe bubbled over last week, explains that if you have a beef with an opponent, you tell them to stop or face the consequences.
Maddon wanted to seek revenge Tuesday and told umpire Tim Tschida he planned to challenge the glove of every Nationals pitcher.
“No, you won’t,” the veteran ump said. “You get one.”
Maddon had one chance to retaliate Tuesday as his team wrapped up the 5-4 victory. Ryan Mattheus, the only Washington pitcher after Peralta’s ejection, laughed as Maddon had his glove checked and approved with two outs in the ninth inning.