Joel Peralta Suspension: MLB's Punishment Adds New Drama to Rays-Nationals Feud
Major League Baseball might not like to create stories by suspending a player, yet that is exactly what happened when it was announced that Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta was being put down for eight games after a foreign substance was found on his glove in Tuesday's game.
This suspension is the cherry on top of the sundae that the Rays and Washington Nationals have been feeding the media and fans the last three days.
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It is not often that an interleague series provides such great drama, aside from what you will see on the field. After all, the only way the Rays and Nationals will meet again this season is if they play in the World Series.
But Peralta's suspension is all the fire that is needed to make us hope that we see these two teams meet again.
While the eight-game suspension is harsh—and proves MLB has no consistency with suspensions, since Delmon Young was suspended for seven days earlier this season after being arrested for a hate crime—it gives Joe Maddon and Davey Johnson more ammo for their war of words.
Johnson told Maddon that he should just "read the rulebook" if he was so upset about having his pitcher kicked out of the game.
Maddon said that he thought this incident would cause potential free agents to think twice about signing with the Nationals, if former players are getting sold out by their former bosses when they have to play them.
“Just looking down the road, if I’m a major league player that may happen to want to come to play for the Nationals in the future, I might think twice about it, under the circumstances,” Maddon said before Wednesday’s game. “Because this is a guy, this is one of their former children here that had really performed well and all of sudden he’s going to come back to this town and they’re going to rat on him based on some insider information.”
Suspending Peralta eight games gives Johnson the validation he wanted when the umpires found a foreign substance on Peralta's' glove.
With Peralta appealing the suspension, he will continue to pitch until MLB issues a final ruling. But Maddon is going to have to figure out what to do without one of his best relievers for at least a handful of games.
This issue will continue to simmer until Peralta returns from the suspension. It will get brought back in the spotlight if/when the Rays and Nationals meet in the World Series. It might not be what MLB had in mind when it issued the suspension, but it creates great drama for everyone watching.
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