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Tampa's choice on tampering charges

Will the Tampa Bay Rays demand an investigation? Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Imagine that you are in a position of power with the Tampa Bay Rays and you are convinced the Cubs violated Major League Baseball rules by tampering with Joe Maddon.

What would you do next?

The Rays have a choice between two distinct routes, now that the Cubs have formally announced Maddon’s hiring. The position they are in may not be that much different than the place where Boston manager John Farrell found himself when Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda walked to the mound with a gob of pine tar on his neck in April.

Farrell had the option of simply ignoring what he saw -- what everybody saw -- with the knowledge that a lot of pitchers veer around the written rules, including his own. Farrell certainly is well aware that a lot of pitchers will shave the forearm of their glove hand and cover it with sunscreen, or that they will glop the underside of their caps with pine tar, and in a moment of need, will go to that spot in their ongoing effort to get a better grip on the ball.

But Pineda’s violation seemed so blatant to him, so brazen, that Farrell also had to consider the ramifications if he didn’t do anything -- that he would look like a pushover. He would look like someone who let his team get beat without a fight.

And we know what happened next: Farrell went to the umpires and asked them to check Pineda, and the pitcher was quickly ejected.

From the Rays’ perspective, the way the Maddon situation has played out must be, well, maddening.