Cheating is wrong. Except when it’s not. Man, why don’t people cheat more? An interview with the king of the spitter from Syracuse.com:
In terms of ethics and cheating, how much difference is there between throwing a spitter and using steroids?
“There’s a tremendous amount. You try things, you try to improve (in looking for a small edge). Back in the 1960s and 70s, we played hard. We had a good time.”
Does he think any of today’s pitchers throw a spitter?
“No, I don’t think they do it. They have good enough stuff throwing 95, 100. I’ve seen pitchers throw out scuffed up balls. I don’t know why they do that. A scuffed-up ball will move for you. That’s what you want.”
I don’t think that throwing a spitball and using PEDs are exactly the same thing. They are both cheating and if your argument is “cheating is wrong, full stop” well, you have to figure out why you treat them differently, but I do realize that there are some externalities to PEDs that don’t necessarily exist with scuffing baseballs.
Still, I don’t feel like we’ve spent enough time actually sussing out what kind of “looking for an edge” is OK and what kind is not.
Look for a lot of this disconnect in the next few days as the old Hall of Famers descend on Cooperstown for induction weekend.
Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.
RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole
Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.