Why We Sidestep Stupidity, and Why We Sometimes Shouldn’t
In the 2nd inning of his fourth start of the 2014 baseball season, New York Yankees’ pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected, and subsequently suspended, for using pine tar on his pitching hand.
Though technically an illegal substance, pine tar’s use is an open secret due to the offsetting advantages it affords adversaries. In raw, cold conditions such as those endured that April evening in Boston, pine tar provides pitchers with a more reliable grip on a baseball while having little, if any, effect on its flight. The pitcher gains a grasp more in line with warmer weather and, in return, the batter is less likely to be summarily plunked by a runaway 95-mph fastball. In exchange for no harm, no foul is called so long as the rule is bent with gentlemanly discretion.
Michael Pineda displayed no such guile. Instead, he smeared a generous glob of the shiny, sticky stuff on his naked upper neck.… Read the rest