Elliott: Pine tar here to stay
* Bob Elliott says the cries for a new rule to ban pine tar will fall on deaf ears. Michael Pineda was only the fourth pitcher suspended for pine tar in 11 seasons. That and more in Elliott's Notebook. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2015 Canadian draft list
By Bob Elliott
When John Gibbons trundled out to ask the umpires to check the glove of Baltimore Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez in the fifth inning Tuesday night, we imagined the whole Blue Jays bullpen screaming, “oh no!”
Because if Gibbons is going to check Baltimore pitchers for pine tar ... well then Orioles manager Buck Showalter can certainly check on the Jays for foreign substances.
“It wasn’t the whole bullpen saying ‘oh no,’ ... just half,” said one Jays reliever this week.
The Jays video crew, responsible for replays, spotted Gonzalez tapping one, or two fingers from his right hand, or the ball, against his left thumb of his glove.
Plate ump Seth Buckminster said Gonzalez was clean as a baby’s butt and the game continued. Gonzalez told the umps it was a nervous twitch.
The pine tar issue became a real issue the next night at Fenway.
John (Cowboy) Farrell came out of the first base dugout Wednesday to ask Gerry Davis to check New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda. The ball, his glove, and his uniform were all clean.
Ah, about that pine tar necklace, Mr. Pineda?
Davis touched his finger on the blotch the size of Rhode Island.
Mitch Williams of the MLB Network guessed 80% of pitchers use some kind of help to get a better grip. Yankee broadcasters Al Leiter and David Cone admitted they used pine tar. When Pascaul Perez pitched for the Montreal Expos, he had so much hair gel on the ball that some infielders would field a one hopper and throw wet, sharp-breaking sinkers past first base.
Now there are cries for a new rule to ban pine tar. Pineda is the fourth suspension in 11 seasons. Baseball needs to fix the replay rule so managers don’t do the slow walk, position themselves in the right spot to get either a thumbs up or thumbs down to challenge a call. Or fix this sliding lane catchers must give ... the same catchers who have been taught to block the plate.
Is pine tar here to stay? You bet.
Would you like your hitter digging in against Aroldis Chapman and his 102 MPH fastball in 35-degree weather when he does not have a proper grip?
Is it legal? No.
It’s like speeding down the Gardiner Expressway -- assuming it is open -- some speed demons get caught, most don’t.
What Pineda did at Fenway was akin to driving a cherry-red Mustang convertible, weaving through traffic with blinkers on, top down, people standing and yelling at passing cars.
Raw, ugly numbers: Jays starters have averaged 5.43 innings per start - fifth worst total in the majors. Heading into Saturday action, the Minnesota Twins had averaged 5.1 innings, the Arizona Diamondbacks 5.2 and the Seattle Mariners 5.36 innings per outing ... In the 76 innings since the fifth inning of game one of the doubleheader against the Twins, Jays pitchers have watched the opposition send nine or more men to the plate four times, blowing two five-run leads ... Jays relievers have walked 49 men 79 1/3 innings (second worst).
Regina’s Stu Scheurwater made his major-league debut Friday night as the Colorado Rockies edged the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 in 11 innings at Dodgers Stadium. Scheurwater, who works triple-A Pacific Coast League games, is filling in for Adrian Johnson and had second base Friday. He worked the plate Sunday as Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa faced Hyun-Jin Ryu. Scheurwater is the first Canadian to work a big-league game since Jim McKean, who broke in during the 1973 season and had a 30-year career ... Victoria’s Ian Lamplugh also worked games in 1999-2000.
Dot, dots: Jays first base coach Tim Leiper has switched to uniform No. 34. The number he wore when he peaked as a player at triple-A Buffalo in 1993? Nope. It’s the jersey Team Canada’s Greg Hamilton gave the triple-A Ottawa manager in 2003 at the Olympic qualifier in Panama. Mexico and Rigo Beltran beat Team USA in the quarters, and Canada with Justin Morneau and Pete Laforest knocked off Mexico to reach the 2004 Athens Games ... If Sportsnet’s Shawn McKenzie looks familiar, he should. He’s the son of TSN hockey guru Bob McKenzie. Shawn dresses like broadcaster Lindsey Nelson. And Baltimore’s Adam Jones noticed the other night, ending his interview with “nice jacket.” ... Comedian Frenchie McFarlane suggests if Hall of Famer Willie Mays was known as the “say hey kid,” why can’t third baseman Brett Lawrie be nicknamed the “say eh kid?”
Meet me in St. Louie: Dr. Ron Taylor and son Drew are headed to St. Louis May 24-25 for a reunion of the 1964 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals. Taylor entered Game 4 at Yankee Stadium in the sixth inning, leading 4-3 before 66,312. The Yanks sent 13 hitters to the plate and Taylor retired 12 in four hitless innings. He walked Mickey Mantle, but retired Elston Howard, Tom Tresh, Joe Pepitone and Clete Boyer twice each. He set down John Blanchard, Phil Linz, Bobby Richardson and Roger Maris once. He worked a scoreless 2/3 of an inning in a Game 6 loss and watched as Bob Gibson won Game 7.