KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Although some fans watching on TV reacted as if they'd caught Salvador Perez with some kind of smoking gun, the truth was much less dramatic.
The Royals catcher, who had pine tar on his right shinguard, did nothing against the rules.
"It's not illegal for a catcher to get an extra grip," Royals manager Ned Yost said before Wednesday night's Game 2. "A pitcher is illegal, but Sal is not putting anything on the ball for the pitcher. He uses it for his own. He just taps it lightly so that he gets a better grip when he throws, which is completely legal."
Bruce Froemming, who umpired the second-most games (5,163) in big-league history during his career from 1971-2007 and is now a special assistant for umpiring for MLB, said Yost is correct.
"He's [Perez] not a pitcher, it's legal," Froemming said on the field before Wednesday night's game.
Of it being some kind of budding controversy, Froemming smiled and said: "There's nothing there."
Terry Collins agreed.
The Mets manager completely dismissed it as an issue Wednesday, saying what everyone inside the sport knows: Pine tar is used extensively to grip the ball.
"I don't know if Travis does it, he probably does," Collins said of his catcher, Travis d'Arnaud. "I've seen throughout baseball, everywhere, you have it. And again, catchers, they've got to get a grip, too, especially on cold and damp nights."
"They need a grip on the baseball, so they use pine tar for themselves."
Collins said Perez loading the ball was not a concern.
"Every catcher in baseball has pine tar on their shinguard," Collins said.
"It's for them. It's really hard to transfer that onto the ball and give the pitcher something to hold on to, especially as many times as they throw balls out today."
He then added later what most people in baseball says when it comes to the importance of players -- pitchers, obviously, most of all -- being able to properly grip the ball in cold weather.
"I go back to my days in Albuquerque when it was cold and dry, and I had pitchers, you couldn't shake their hand because you couldn't get your hand away from them," Collins said. "The argument was, you can either do this or you can let this wild sucker throw some balls at 95 miles an hour with no command. I think any hitter would say, 'Let him have a little command on it, it's OK.' ''
With Marc Carig