Major League Baseball is considering a rule change at the end of the regular season that would possibly allow pitchers to use pine tar on the mound.
The discussion comes on the heels of a recent incident involving New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda. The young player was caught with pine tar on his neck during a game and was subsequently suspended 10 games:
While Pineda clearly broke the rules and deserved his punishment, there is a wide disagreement as to whether this should remain illegal going forward.
I think the way that the rule has been enforced, as with lots of rules in baseball, is that when there's a complaint, we do something about it. And that's what happened here. I don't think that this particular incident is all that different from other incidents that we've had in the past. We will like we do every offseason look at this issue, but remember, pine tar is one of a number of foreign substances, and you have to have a rule that fits for all of them. I don't think there's anything all that different about the Pineda.
ESPN's Doug Glanville provided a different take on the incident, saying that it is something that everyone does but Pineda was simply worse at hiding it:
ESPN analyst Doug Glanville says pine tar is like speeding. Everyone does it, but… » pic.twitter.com/YkArsHN82i— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 24, 2014
On the other hand, Mike Greenberg of ESPN is someone who does not think it should be allowed regardless:
Pine tar helps pitchers grip the ball and clearly increases the ability to get movement on certain pitches. If legalized, most players would immediately take advantage of the help.
However, the substance is illegal as the rules are currently constructed and no pitcher should be able to get away with using it. In reality, hiding it should only make the penalty worse.
Cheating is cheating, and no one should look the other way with this issue until the rules are changed. Fortunately, the league will look into making a decision that works best for the players and the league.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.