Some further thoughts on the Peralta incident
Rays manager Joe Maddon took an interesting, and somewhat controversial, position after the Nationals turned in Joel Peralta for having pine tar on his glove Tuesday, going on the offensive in accusing Nats manager Davey Johnson of a cowardly act that players, including his own, would not support.
And he may have had a point.
Maddon's comments: "If you want a reaction to the entire event, I would go talk to the Nationals players and see what they think. I would bet - I don't know this, but I would bet they are not very pleased with what went on tonight."
Nats players, specifically the pitchers who teamed with Peralta in 2010, didn't have much, if anything, to say about what happened.
According to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times: "Several declined comment and those who did speak, like (Tyler) Clippard, said only that Peralta did 'unbelievable things for us, was a great guy and we loved having him here.' "
And Nats reliever Ryan Mattheus, who played with Peralta in the Rockies’ organization in 2009, said: "I don't know exactly what he puts in his glove or what they found or what he uses. As far as I know, Joel, he's a great, great guy. Standup guy. I don't think he's out there cheating, trying to get over on us or anything like that. It's unfortunate."
Peralta didn't say much in own defense, which makes sense since he was essentially caught redhanded. He declined to say exactly how the pine tar got on, and in, his glove, but claimed it did not give him an advantage: "It's not like I've used pine tar my whole career or anything like that."
Peralta said he wasn't sure he even wanted to know what member of the Nationals turned him in, as there were several pitchers and coaches remaining, along with his former Triple-A manager, Trent Jewell, who is now a coach. "I'm upset about it, but what am I going to say?," Peralta said. "I'm not going to say anything against anybody. That's not me."
As Peralta left the mound, he tipped his cap toward the Nationals bench. "Good for them," he said. "They still lost the game, so ..."
The gist of Maddon's comments was that many pitchers have pine tar on their gloves and that Peralta was unfairly singled out by the Nats — and his reputation besmirched — for something that is done often.
"From a real veteran staff on the other side knowing how this thing works and how it's worked for many, many years, you could go back to spitball pitchers, greaseball pitchers, to whatever kind of pitchers, to scuffball pitchers, it's just the way this game has been played for 100 years, or more than that," Maddon said.
"To single out Joel Peralta tonight, that is my concern. That Joel does not get vilified, that's my concern, because this guy has done a great job, he's been an excellent relief pitcher and to in any way tarnish what he's done to this point — because there is going to be suggestions made based on what happened tonight and I think that's wrong and inappropriate because it's been a common practice for many, many years for anybody to try to get an edge in many, many ways."
And Maddon, who used the one challenge the umpires allowed him to check Mattheus in the ninth, offered something of a threat to Johnson.
"Before you start throwing rocks," Maddon said, "understand where you live."
[Photo: Getty Images]