You’d think Marlins reliever / human sexuality expert Todd Jones would be too busy closing games for the Fish and making goo goo eyes at drag queens, but luckily for us, he’s still penning a column for The Sporting News.
Charmingly titled Sticky Situation : what, exactly is cheating?“, Jones fails to address the all-time puzzler “is eating cheating?”, instead choosing to tackle the pine-tar controversy.
I pitched in Denver for two years, and at a mile above sea level, I used pine tar every time I pitched at home. My thinking was that I was more than 5,000 feet in the air and was entitled to at least do that much. I never thought one thing about it. Was it cheating? My numbers say no, given that my career ERA at Coors Field is 7.64 in 59 games. It’s very dry in Denver, and that makes the baseball slippery. I needed the tar to hold onto the ball. I didn’t want the ball to slip and hit a hitter. At least, that was my thinking. I never considered it cheating; I was breaking even.
Hey, if most pitchers are using pine tar at one time or another (and the Angels’ pitching coach Bud Black claimed as much last week following Brendan Donelly’s bust), I don’t wanna give Todd a hard time. His special fans can take care of that. But citing his crap ERA at Coors doesn’t mean Jones wasn’t breaking the rules. Presumably, said ERA would’ve been even higher without the aid of a foreign substance.