If ya cant beat em they must be cheating right. Well thats exactly what skipper Joe Maddon thought of Phils starter Joe Blanton. Blanton got off to a sizzling start in Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night. He was so good, in fact, that Rays manager Joe Maddon became suspicious of the Phillies right-hander.
Blanton struck out three batters in the first two innings and four of the first eight men he faced and had some great movement on his pitches. The movement, combined with a visible discoloration on the top of the bill of Blanton’s cap, gave the Rays reason to try to put two-and-two together. Television close-ups of Blanton revealed some sort of dark spot on the cap. A similar spot was visible on the bill of Blanton’s cap during the National League Championship Series.
Rays manager Joe Maddon told home-plate umpire Tom Hallion at the end of the second inning that he believed Blanton had pine tar on his hat. Hallion replied to Maddon that he would check the ball, and if he found a foreign substance on the ball, he would proceed accordingly.
According to Mike Port, MLBs VP of umpiring, the request was essentially the end of the issue. Hallion kept an eye on the ball and on Blanton, and found nothing suspicious.
“It’s nothing,” Blanton said. “They rub the balls up with whatever they rub them up with, and you rub it up and get it on your hand. I’m constantly trying to get moisture, and just touch my hat. It’s nothing sticky. Anybody can go touch it. It’s basically just dirt from the ball that gets … over time, over so many starts, I don’t change my hat. It just gets rubbed on the hat.”