Rays Tales: "Cheating" incidents in Tampa Bay Rays history

Published Jun. 24, 2012

Given last week's sticky situation with pine tar found inside RHP Joel Peralta's glove, the Rays, in their 15 seasons, have now been a part of three of the game's more infamous incidents of on-field "cheating."

May 1999

Detroit pitcher Brian Moehler is caught with a small piece of sandpaper attached to his left thumb after the Devil Rays note unusual movement on his pitches and manager Larry Rothschild asked the umpires to check him.

Suspension: 10 days

Key comment: Detroit manager Larry Parrish calls the Tampa Bay complaints "bootleg" and says: "There's not a pitching staff in baseball that doesn't have a guy who defaces the ball. … If the umpires want to check things like that, I think half to three-quarters of the league would be suspended, including some Tampa Bay Devil Rays."

June 2003

Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa's bat splits vertically after a groundout against Devil Rays pitcher Jeremi Gonzalez, and the umpires notice — after Devil Rays catcher Toby Hall casually points it out — a half-dollar-sized piece of cork notched into the bat.

Suspension: 8 games (reduced on appeal to 7)

Key comment: Sosa said the bat in question was one he used to "put on a show for the fans" during batting practice and wasn't intended for game use. "I just picked the wrong bat," he said. "It's something that I take the blame for. It's a mistake. I know that. I feel sorry. I just apologize to everybody that is embarrassed."

June 2012

Joel Peralta is found to have "a substantial amount" of pine tar inside his glove after Nationals manager Davey Johnson, admittedly acting on inside information, asks the umpires to check.

Suspension: 8 games

Key comment: Rays manager Joe Maddon tried valiantly to flip the script and blame the Nats for "underhanded" tactics and said it's "common practice" for pitchers to use pine tar. "Go ask their players what they think about all this," he said. "Go ask every team … what they think about this and how it came down and what they believe would be the right way to go about that."

Rays rumblings

The Trop was third on Jim Caple's list of the 10 worst all-time big-league ballparks, behind Montreal's Olympic Stadium and Seattle's Kingdome, and seeded 30th for an online voting battle of current parks. … Of all that was said in Washington last week, the oddest exchange was hearing 69-year-old Davey Johnson call Joe Maddon "a weird wuss." … Ex-Ray Carl Crawford is on track to make his season debut for Boston on July 13 at the Trop. … Four of the players acquired from the Cubs in the January 2011 Matt Garza trade have now made it to the majors: OFs Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer, C Robinson Chirinos and RHP Chris Archer, with SS Hak-Ju Lee still to come. … Former Rays All-Star LHP Scott Kazmir, with only one big-league appearance since Sept. 2010, has been reduced to trying a comeback with the Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, but he's still only 28. … About 15 Japanese journalists (newspaper, wire service, TV) are traveling with the Rays covering Hideki Matsui.

Got a minute? Sean Rodriguez

Something you're scared of? Alligators.

Favorite TV show of all time? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

If you had to, go-to karaoke song? It would depend on the crowd. I would definitely lean toward something hip-hop, maybe off The Chronic, by (Dr.) Dre.

Late-night snack? Ritz crackers, sometimes with Nutella.

Celebrity crush? Jessica Biel — she's about to get married though.

Suspended animation

RHP Joel Peralta's eight-game suspension is the longest for an onfield issue in Rays history. Here, per MLB records, is the full list:

8 games

• RHP Joel Peralta, June 2012, foreign substance on glove

7 games

• LHP Joe Kennedy, June '02, throwing at hitter

Want more than just the box score?

Want more than just the box score?

Subscribe to our free Rays Report newsletter

Columnist John Romano will send the latest Rays insights and analysis to keep you updated weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

6 games

• RHP James Shields, June '08, fighting, escalating incident

5 games

• OF Gerald Williams, Aug. '00, charging mound, inciting brawl

• Mgr. Lou Piniella, April '05, inappropriate actions

• RHP Dewon Brazelton, April '05, aggressive actions

• RHP Lance Carter, April '05, throwing at hitter

• OF Jonny Gomes, June '08, fighting, escalating incident

• RHP Edwin Jackson, June '08, fighting, escalating incident

• OF Carl Crawford, June '08, fighting

• INF Akinori Iwamura, June '08, fighting

3 games

• RHP Dave Eiland, Aug. '00, throwing at hitter

• RHP Tony Fiore, Aug. '00, throwing at hitter

• RHP Cory Lidle, Aug. '00, throwing at hitter

• Mgr. Larry Rothschild, Aug. '00, failing to pre-empt action, inappropriate comments

• LHP Nick Bierbrodt, April '03, throwing at hitter

• INF Marlon Anderson, June '03, fighting, inciting

• OF Carl Crawford, June '03, fighting

• Coach John McLaren, Aug. '05, inappropriate actions

• Coach Mike Butcher, Sept. '06, inappropriate actions

2 games

• Mgr. Larry Rothschild, July '00, arguing, contact with umpire

• OF Carl Crawford, Sept. '07, inappropriate actions

• OF Jonny Gomes, March '08, violent actions, escalating incident

• C Dioner Navarro, April '10, inappropriate actions

• OF B.J. Upton, May '11, onfield incident

1 game

• INF Bobby Smith, July '00, fighting

• Mgr. Lou Piniella, April '03, actions of pitcher

• Coach John McLaren, Aug. '03, yelling at umpire