Former big-league pitcher and current MLB analyst Dirk Hayhurst dropped by The MoJo Show on Thursday to discuss the Michael Pineda saga, and it didn’t take long for him to make Chris Moore and Brian Jones laugh – heartily.
“Talk about the laziest cheater I have ever seen take the mound,” Hayhurst said in an are-you-kidding-me tone. “What frustrates me is I give the Yankees a lot of credit, but how on earth can you just watch a guy slap pine tar on the side of his neck and say, ‘Yeah, man, that’s good. They’ll never find it. Go with it.’
Pineda, of course, was ejected in the second inning of Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the Red Sox for smearing pine tar across his neck. He has been suspended for 10 games.
“You have this incredible reputation for professionalism with the New York Yankees,” Hayhurst said, “you know this guy was cheating, you know he was probably going to be uncomfortable taking the mound without a substance on him, you’re going to have to watch him to make sure he doesn’t go back and grab the pine tar and slap it all over himself and then this is what happens – and you pretended like it wasn’t really a big deal last time, and this time you’re like, ‘It’s all our fault.’ Yes, it is all your fault. It is all your fault, for goodness sakes.
“And this garbage line about, ‘I just wanted to get a grip because I was afraid I was going to hurt somebody’ – look, if you can’t take the mound without a tub of pine tar because you’re afraid of committing manslaughter, maybe baseball isn’t the sport for you.”
This was the second time in three starts – both coming against the Red Sox – that Pineda was accused of using pine tar. Pineda claims that dirt, not pine tar, was smeared across his palm during a 4-1 win over the Red Sox on April 10.
No one really believed that.
“The entire world knew he was cheating,” Hayhurst said.
Hayhurst doesn’t understand how Joe Girardi or Derek Jeter didn’t see the pine tar on Pineda’s neck Wednesday – and, if they did, how they didn’t tell him to take it off.
“Derek Jeter is staring right at him,” Hayhurst said. “I mean, Jeter goes out to the mound. He knows what is happening. Jeter’s got a lot of clout. He could have offered to give a gift basket to the umpire to leave (Pineda) alone, but it obviously wasn’t enough.”
All kidding aside, what about the culture of baseball? In many ways, it’s romantic to cheat and not get caught. But to cheat and get caught? It’s almost cause for excommunication.
“Oh, I love this,” Hayhurst said. “I love the fact that John Farrell pretty much gave them a warning, saying, ‘If he’s going to do it, I should hope it’s not as indiscreet as last time.’ This is kind of like baseball saying that there is honor among thieves. We all know that everybody’s cheating; the Red Sox know that pitchers take the mound with stuff. “
So does Hayhurst. The 33-year-old used to be in charge of packing goody bags for the pitching staff, which included gum, candy and, yes, pine tar.
“Every bullpen has the same arsenal,” said Hayhurst, who pitched for the Padres and Blue Jays in 2008 and 2009, respectively. “They all pack the same crap for the same purpose – and I can tell you it’s not for protecting the batters from getting hit. It’s for cheating. That’s what it’s there for. And if you’re going to be as overt as Pineda was (Wednesday), it’s (going to be an issue).
“You saw it on John Farrell’s face when he had to come (out of the dugout). He’s like, ‘All right, I hate to do this, but this guy makes us all look bad. I’ve got to have him thrown out.’”