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Pine Tar Controversy: Michael Pineda's Sticky Suspension

Some fans say what Pineda was caught doing is commonplace. His mistake? He was being too obvious to ignore.
Image: MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda is ejected from the game for having a foreign substance on his neck during the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Reuters

BOSTON -- When it's Yankees-Red Sox, anything goes. But here's the rub: openly cheating is frowned upon in the game's most intense rivalry.

Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was obviously looking for a little help gripping the ball Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Who could blame him? It was brisk. And leather gets slippery when cold.

His remedy? Slip a little pine tar on his hand. Problem was, said pine tar was clearly visible on his neck -- visible practically to everyone at Fenway Park and those watching on TV.

That didn't give Boston skipper John Farrell many options, the sports universe said today -- in newspapers, on radio and television, the Internet ... everywhere.

So Farrell calmly approached the umpire and asked that he check the pitcher for any foreign objects. One quick swab of the finger was all the official needed to send Pineda to the showers in the second inning, perhaps creating his career's epitaph in the process.

On Thursday, Pineda -- whose name translates to "pine grove" -- was the talk of baseball and beyond. His brazen bending of the rules will cost him 10 games' worth of pay. The hit to his reputation, some argue, may be priceless.

Fans of both teams were calling foul before Thursday's game, but suggested many others besides Pineda are tweaking the rules.

All in all, it's just another chapter in the long saga of drama between these two storied franchises.

Until the next controversy takes its place.

Either way, it'll be sticky.