As the reader will likely know by now, Tampa Bay right-hander Joel Peralta was ejected from Tuesday night’s game against the Washington Nationals before even throwing a single pitch. Indeed, Nationals manager Davey Johnson — who was a member of the front office in Washington when Peralta played there in 2010 — asked home plate umpire Tim Tschida to inspect Peralta’s glove as the latter warmed up. Following a brief delay, both Peralta and his glove were removed from the game, due to a “foreign substance on or in” the latter — pine tar being the substance in question.
To say that pine tar and its application to a baseball are “illegal” — this is fine and good. To suggest that pine tar constitutes a foreign substance, however, is a bit misleading: in fact, a popular brand of pine tar is sold by Mueller Sports Medicine, Inc., located in beautiful Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin — a town (Prairie de Sac, that is) famously known its potent domesticity.
Below is a list of five substances that are decidedly more foreign than pine tar. While we can only speculate upon what sort of competitive advantage any of them provide to the American baseballist, one is forced to assume that their use is rampant in Major League Baseball.
Betel Nut (Link)
What It Is: Generally, some combination of the areca nut, betel leaves, and (powdered) lime designed to be chewed or gnawed upon. Also called paan, it seems. Red in color. Habit-forming.
Where Found: India. Kinda alot.
Foie Gras (Link)
What It Is: Liver of duck or goose that has been fattened using a process of force-feeding known as gavage. Delicious, if sometimes considered “totally inhumane.”
Where Found: Anywhere, really, but mostly France.
What It Is: A novel myotropic type-2 tryptophyllin from the skin secretion of the giant leaf frog. Stupid.
Where Found: The Amazon, Mexico, other places.
Spotted Dick (Link)
What It Is: A sort of pudding with currants and custard.
Where Found: Britain. Or, as Euro 2012 commentator Steve McManaman would say: “Britain, isn’t it?”
What It Is: A rare metal, used to make Captain America’s shield and the Black Panther’s entire suit, among other things. (But not that many other things, really.)
Where Found: Antarctica and the African nation of Wakanda, naturally.