A couple of week's ago, when the Rays were playing the Red Sox, Tampa pitcher Matt Moore plunked Adrian Gonzalez with the first pitch in what was obviously a comment about a statement A-Gon had made to the Boston press about breaking out of his home run drought in that particular game.
No bench clearing brawl or nastiness from Gonzalez or the Sox over the j.v. maneuver. Later in the game, Sox reliever Franklin Morales threw his first pitch behind Rays dh Luke Scott. He buzzed the next two pitches chest high before finally hitting Scott.
The Rays bench erupted, led by the coaches who screamed all kinds of things at the Boston players and coaches. Rays coach Joe Maddon went off in every conceivable media outlet, including Twitter, about what he called an obvious hit put out by Boston's coaches on Scott. Luke "Muttonchops" Scott is hitting about .200, btw, and probably leads the league in stranding runners in scoring position. So he's not exactly A-Rod, if you take my meaning.
Madden called the move "cowardly" and went on and on about the Boston coaches. Sox coach Bobby Valentine wondered in response if this meant that anytime a Rays pitcher hits an opposing batter that is has been called for by Rays coaches.
Flash forward to this week and the Rays game against the Nationals the other night. When Rays reliever Joel Peralta came in late in the game, Nats coach Davey Johnson signaled to the umps to check Peralta's glove. Peralta played for the Nats last year, and sure enough, the glove was loaded with pine tar. Peralta was ejected, GloveGate was born, and Madden went off again.
He called the move, you guessed it . . . "cowardly" said, without evidence btw, that Nats players were upset with the move and suggested that players wouldn't want to play for the team in the future.
Like Bobby V. before him, Johnson answered adroitly that perhaps Madden should read the rule book. Bottom line -- foreign substances are not allowed on the pitcher's person when on the mound. Maddon and the local press are still raging about this, dredging up some former Rays coach who says that all pitchers use pine tar to grip the ball (news to me, I thought that's what the rosin bag was for) and claimed that studies have shown that putting pine tar on the ball doesn't affect the flight of the ball in any way.
I'm no brain scientist, but how can you alter the weight and balance of a flying object and not have it affect the objects trajectory?
But Maddon's still barking about this, claiming Peralta's eight game suspension isn't called for. Except that it is, and precident is already in place for exactly that length suspension.
Frankly, Maddon's perpetual whining about stuff like this is rubbing off on the entire team -- a Rays player slides hard into second to break up a double play and its just hard-nosed baserunning. An opposing team's player slides hard into second on the Rays and he's overplaying the game, coming in too high, its totally uncalled for, etc.
David Price goes 7 innings, strikes out 10 guys with a strike zone that extends halfway into the other batter's box? He's in the zone, baby! He's dialed in! Fabulous! An opposing pitcher gets the same calls? I guess the umps had an agenda. Something clearly wrong here, etc. All the players on the team whine about every little call that goes against them. Its pathetic.
When the Rays were losing 100 games a season, no one cared about this stuff. The Rays were plucky and everyone admired their spirit and so on. Well, through hard work and a good farm system, and good coaching actually, the Rays are a top tier team now. And other teams are gunning for them. And Maddon's not handling it well. And I for one, and getting tired of his shtick. Joe needs one of these: