Every sport comes with its own set of controversies, and for MLB the rather remembered one is the which happened with Jay Howell. Not only did he get himself suspended, but he also ended up altering the course of the 1988 Championship Series play offs.
Jay Howell, a pitcher on the Los Angeles Dodgers landed himself in a spot of trouble after he was found having pine tar on his glove in a game against the Mets. It was the first time a pitcher had been suspended from a Championship series, and the second time a player had been barred.
The Dodgers lost their best relief pitcher as Howell landed himself a three-day suspension after the controversy. Howell did acknowledge that he used pine tar on his glove. However, he maintained that he used it only to get a grip in the wet and cold weather, and not to alter the flight of the ball.
Jay Howell defends his actions after acknowledging that he cheated
Howell was adamant on his stance. ”My intent certainly was not to cheat in any way,” Howell said before the next game. ”The weather conditions were adverse, and you couldn’t get a grip on the ball. But I’ve never had any batter question the ball.”
Unfortunately for Howell, the President of the League, A. Bartlett Giamatti, did not agree with his point of view. In his eyes, Howell had broken the “Rule 8.02 (b) by having a ”foreign substance on his glove.” ”While there must be no doubt,” he said in a written statement, ”as to my view of the seriousness of this infraction in the course of the league championship series, I have attempted to balance all the elements of this decision.”
The effect on the team was adverse and apparent, as team manager Tom Lasorda said, “It costs us our best relief pitcher, and it’s too severe. The Mets have the best team in the league, to begin with. Now, I’ve got to go with 23 guys against their 24.”
Therefore, Mr. Howell would be eligible to pitch should there be a seventh game,” said Giamatti, and the Mets encountered Howell twice during the playoffs. Yet, the year ended with one of the most dramatic suspensions of all time, one to be remembered.