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Rays' Maddon fires back at Nationals' Johnson

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By Tom Schad
The Washington Times 

Roughly an hour after Nationals manager Davey Johnson addressed Tuesday night’s pine tar incident, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon fired back. Johnson called the Ray’s skipper a “guru” and suggested that he read the rulebook. Maddon responded to those remarks, and elaborated on his thoughts from the night before, in the Ray’s dugout before Wednesday’s game. 

Here’s what he had to say:

On any additional thoughts from Tuesday night, and whether he would use Joel Peralta Wednesday night: “Yeah, I definitely would use Joel. Last night, I thought first of all that the umpires did everything properly. I thought the umpires handled everything correctly. I was very pleased with that. Tim Tschida and his group were outstanding. Beyond that, this is all in the hands of Major League Baseball so it’s up to them to come to the next conclusion. The last thought that came to my mind would be, just looking down the road if I’m a major league player that may happen to want to come and play for the Nationals in the future, I might think twice about it under the circumstances. Basically because this is a guy, this is one of their former children here that had really performed well and all the sudden… he’s going to come back to this town and they’re going to rat on him based on some insider information, insider trading, whatever. So if I’m a major league player, in the very near future to want to come to play for the Nationals, I’d have to think twice about it. Those are my conclusions from yesterday.”

On Davey’s suggestion that Maddon read the rulebook: “Yeah, I mean I understand that. I totally understand that. Davey’s right. I’m incapable of reading the rulebook. And there’s also reading between the lines in some situations that needs to be looked at too. He’s been around long enough, he knows. He knows better than that.”

On Davey’s mention of Maddon’s “tweeter” (Twitter account): “Um, most men have tweeters. And I would never use my tweeter for an advantage.”

On whether he is deflecting blame to the opposing team: “The point is - and again, without getting too much into it because I think I said what I wanted to - go ask their players what they think about all this. Go ask every team that comes in, ask them what they think about it and how it came down, and what they believe would be the right way to go about that or not. That’s all.”

On whether pine tar should be illegal: “I mean from a throwing perspective? No, it shouldn’t be illegal from a throwing perspective. It doesn’t really, it’s just about grip. It doesn’t really influence the movement on the ball as much as it influences the fact that you have a better grip or understanding of where the ball’s going, which actually probably works to the hitter’s advantage also.”

On whether the source of the information would have made a difference: “Well I think this. I think if the umpires had seen this and called him out on it, that’s fine because that’s the umpire’s job. The umpires are out there to enforce the rules… so if the umpires had seen something of their own volition, of their own detective work, I’m fine with all of that. But to utilize information based on the fact that the guy played here, I think that’s… I don’t know if that’s a form of cheating or what, but that’s really kind of underhanded, I believe, to utilize that kind of information to break”

On the incident’s influence on his team: “Joel’s going to be suspended for this, we’re going to be injured by this. So I think that it’s kind of a cavalier moment on their part, not understanding the ramifications for this young man’s career, what it can do to us personally, as a group, and as an organization, and also the fact that it’s not an isolated incident within the industry… Joel Peralta’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever been around in my life, and again if you ask any Washington National player that had played with him in the past, they’ll validate [that], they’ll support that thought entirely. So there’s a lot of negative complimentary components of this that aren’t spoken about from this one cavalier part… I don’t even know what the purpose was… I think it was an intent to indicate a higher form of intellect.”

On what should be done about these incidents: “It is done about it…Baseball players throughout history have always had this amazing ability and way to police themselves. I believe there’s a policing themselves component of this game that I think we should stay away from. Let the players take care of things. It’s happened for a long time.”

On whether calling out managers is out of character for him: “No, I’m defending my guys. I’m defending my guys. I mean, I’ll always defend my guys. Under all circumstances, I will defend my guys. And, like I said before, we don’t start stuff, but we’ll finish stuff.”

On whether he’s kept quiet about former players: “Not only me, everybody does. It’s common knowledge among the people within the industry.”

On whether this ordeal is finished: “Yeah, for me it’s done, yes. I had my say, I said what I had to say last night.”

On how many challenges he’ll be allowed tonight: “I have not been given the ground rules for challenges tonight. I was told last night I had one challenge to utilize, because if that game had gone extra innings, I would have challenged every pitcher that went out of their bullpen. Like I said, you’re going to see a lot of squeaky clean gloves. I think all the major glove manufacturers are probably inundated with new orders last night and this morning but various agents around baseball.”

On whether Nationals should have new gloves: “EVERY major league baseball team.”

On whether it would be in their best interest to have new gloves: “Now look, we don’t need to challenge anybody. Like I said, I think that’s more about the umpires. If the umpires notice something, that’s their call.”

On players self-policing themselves: “They always self-police themselves. So then everybody’s okay with it, [that] is the point.”

On Peralta’s pending suspension: “Sure, it’s going to have a great impact on us, but again even beyond that, I’m more concerned about him, personally, and with the impact it may have on him. That is my greater concern.”

On playing shorthanded: “We shall be, yes. And I really don’t think that that was well thought-out on the other side before the challenge was made, I also want to make that point.”

On whether he’ll go without a bench player rather than lose a reliever: “We’d probably have to [go without a bench player], yeah. We can’t go that short in the bullpen.”

On whether this situation would have been okay if the team had observed it without inside information: “Of course it is. But just make sure that your own house is clean.”

 

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