In his post-game press conference Tuesday night, Rays manager Joe Maddon said, among other things, that Nationals manager Davey Johnson checking reliever Joel Peralta’s glove for what turned out to be “a significant amount” of pine tar was a “real cowardly move.” You can read Maddon’s full comments here.
Johnson got his chance to respond to Maddon’s comments this afternoon. Here’s what he had to say:
On his reaction to Maddon’s comments: “My only comments to him is ‘read the rulebook.’ It’s simple. I’ve been involved in every conceivable kind of thing you can think of about players trying to get an edge mentally or physically, and that’s part of the game. When somebody goes a little overboard, you call it out. It’s that simple. As far as I’m concerned, it’s over and done with. They played a heck of a ballgame, they beat us. That should be the end of the story. Bigger news to me is what goes on on the field, who wins and loses and not any perceived what kind of person I am or any of that other.
“I don’t want to get in a shouting match with Joe. I looked him up on the Internet and found out he has a tweeter, so he can get to more people than me. And so I don’t want to get in a shouting match with him. He’s got a bigger following. So, but it was interesting reading. But you can tell him I have a doctorate of letters, too. Mine’s from Loyola, in humanities, and I’m proud of that, too.”
On Maddon’s assertion that players in Johnson’s clubhouse would be upset: “Let me tell you something. The last time I called a player on it – and I was involved in, shoot, they were X-raying my players’ bats in St. Louis – whatever you got to do, you got to do. It’s just part of the game. I didn’t take offense to the manager or anybody else… As far as players on my club, you know, I mean they put the rosin bag out there to use the rosin bag. When it’s sweaty, the rosin almost turns into like pine tar. You know, I’ve been down that road with corked bats. I’ve been down the road with pine tar past the label. I’ve been [with] every conceivable thing. And individuals are going to do whatever they can to enhance their performance. But when you start breaking the rules, you risk the chance of getting caught. It’s that simple.”
On the potential suspension for Peralta: “I think there could be a suspension of 10 games. I think that’s way too severe. I think just getting thrown out of the game should be enough. Repeat violators, I could see something more severe.
On if he expects any carryover: “No, I don’t. I’m not speaking for the guru over there. But as far as the league and as far as I’m concerned with, it’s just one little issue.
On if he planned to speak with Maddon, given some of the personal attacks: “No, I didn’t know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss anyway. I understand where he’s coming from. His job as a manager is to protect the players. Striking out at whoever he thinks is causing your players any grievance. So I understand where he’s coming from. But he doesn’t know me from a hole in the hill. Or I him, for that matter. But I do know the rule book, and I do try to follow it. If one of my players is breaking, got caught, turn the page, try not to get caught.”
On if he was surprised by Maddon’s comments: “I didn’t take them personally. I mean, again, I know that Joe’s a good manager, and I know that he protects his player, just like I would, too. I might take offense with the rule than I would the opposing manager. I didn’t have any comments when they were X-raying half my team’s bats. I saw bats get broken and cork come all over the field. I thought it more humorous than anything else. To me, it’s just part of the game and it’s an interesting part. My job is also to if I think somebody’s [trying to] use an advantage against us, and there’s any doubt in my mind, I don’t like to have doubt. That’s why I kind of humorously went to the umpire and said ‘It’s been rumored that he’s a little excessive with the pine tar, can we clean that up or check it.’ He was kind of laughing, too.
On if he was hesitant to ask the umpires: “You hate to do anything distracting from the game. I try to stay in the background. The players, they play. I don’t like distractions.”
On Maddon’s assertion that the Nationals were acting on “inside information” which is different, and worse, than if they noticed it themselves: “Doesn’t matter… The word out there, and like I said, [we] had heard actually from early in the day and also early in the year, a lot of guys will sometimes put a little pine tar on the string of their glove. That’s kind of undetectable. I have no problem with any of that. It’s just when I feel it’s execessive that I have a problem with it.”