Nationals Vs. Marlins: Ozzie Guillen Invokes Anachronistic Pine Tar Rule

So, as we're sure you know by now, there was a little brouhaha in Sunday afternoon's Nationals-Marlins game. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen popped out of the dugout, had some words with the home plate umpire, and then screamed some obscenities at Bryce Harper.

And what, you might ask, prompted that outburst? Here's what Davey Johnson said was responsible.

Guillen charged Harper with using too much pine tar on his bat, spewed a torrent of profanity at Harper during his at-bat in the fourth inning and afterward called Harper's actions "unprofessional." Guillen did not specify what caused his ire, but said it had "something" to do with how Harper pointed his bat at him before his second at-bat.

[snip]

The incident began after Harper's first at-bat, a lineout to third base. Guillen complained to umpires that Harper had applied pine tar above the label of his bat, the limit for how high the sticky substance can be spread.

As Ozzie himself might say, are you [bleeping] kidding us?

Look, we've all seen the video of George Brett going nuts after being called out by Tim McClelland for having too much pine tar on his bat back in 1983 (a ruling that was later reversed for not being in keeping with the rule's spirit, by the way). Now, here's Peter Gammons on how the rule originally came into existence.

American League president Lee MacPhail learned that the rule was enacted in 1957 by parsimonious Senators owner Calvin Griffith because he felt too many players were using too much pine tar, ruining batting practice baseballs and costing him too much petty cash.

Hey, look at that, a Senators connection! The point is, hasn't this rule long outlived its usefulness? Let's face it, if any owners are still complaining about pine tar ruining batting practice baseballs, they shouldn't be running a team in this day and age. And if you're paying more attention to an opponent's bat instead of your own team, which is languishing badly in the standings, by the way, you shouldn't be managing one, either.

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