Usually a pitcher at least throws one pitch before he gets ejected. Not so in the case of Joel Peralta on Tuesday night.
Peralta, a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, was called on in the 8th inning of last night’s game against the Washington Nationals. But before he could even throw a pitch, the umpire called a meeting at the mound, confiscated his glove, and threw him out of the game. Why? Well, the Nationals complained that Peralta might have been hiding a foreign substance. When the umpire checked, sure enough he found pine tar in the hand opening of the glove. That’s a no no.
Here’s how it happened live:
“Someone [on the Nationals' bench] had been chirping about pine tar,” Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said after the game, but declined to say who mentioned it. “If somebody has been known to use a foreign substance on their glove or their hat, a nice hot night is the time to use it. And so I asked them to check, obviously he had it.”
“It was a significant amount of pine tar,” umpire crew chief Tim Tschida confirmed. “Inside [the glove], where the hand goes inside.”
But how would the guy on the bench know? Well, in a strange twist of iron Peralta actually pitched for the Nationals in 2010.
As for Peralta, he said the glove was actually the one he usually wears for batting practice.
Johnson, however, said he was hesitant to complain.
“I was hesitant to do it,” Johnson said. “Then Tim [Tschida] was looking at me kind of grinning he said, ‘Oh, what do you want?’ And so I walked out and said, ‘Well, would you check it? Just to make sure. I’m curious.’”
“Well… he pitched here,” he added when asked more specifically about where he got his information. “I don’t think it’s a secret.”
He offered more details later:
“Yeah, I didn’t just make it up,” Johnson said. “But there [were] conversations before the game. He was out there and I was talking to some of the guys, I said, ‘How’d we let this guy get away?’ I thought he pitched pretty good for us [from what] I saw and then he’s been kind of an invaluable set-up man for Tampa Bay. And one thing led to another and I got probably more information than I really needed. I don’t know, the left-hander put us down 1-2-3, so it was probably a bad move.”
Rays Manager Joe Maddon wasn’t pleased despite the inning’s outcome.
“It’s kind of a common practice that people have done this for years,” Maddon said. “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 — I’ve used that word twice this year — move.”
To show is displeasure, later in the game Maddon had the umpire check an opposing pitcher’s glove in a bit of gamesmanship.