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Breaking news: Mike Pelfrey licks his hand a lot

Sep 2, 2011, 2:48 PM EDT

New York Mets v Colorado Rockies Getty Images

Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes that Mike Pelfrey‘s “propensity for licking his hand is unrivaled in baseball.”

So naturally Costa tracked how many times Pelfrey actually licked his hand while on the mound for Tuesday’s start against the Marlins at Citi Field and the final tally was 89.

And he only pitched six innings, so Pelfrey’s pitch-to-lick ratio was 116-to-89. Pelfrey then explained himself:

It’s something I’ve always done. I think it becomes an issue where people tell me, instead of licking my hand, it looks like I’m licking my whole arm. That’s why it gets brought up. Guys have talked about, “Ahhh, you’re eating your whole hand.”

Pelfrey also explained that the added moisture helps him grip the ball and all the licking was legal, according to umpire Fieldin Culbreth, because “it is permissible for a pitcher to lick his hand as long as he wipes it on his uniform immediately afterward.”

But as rotation-mate R.A. Dickey told Costa: “Mike is a little bit over the top.”

  1. cur68 - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    In that picture he looks like he’s checking his fillings. In his molars. If that’s the usual Pelfry-lick I can see why R.A. calls it “over the top”. I wonder how often he comes down with ‘gastric issues’? All that licking can’t be good for your gut. They don’t wash those baseballs you know.

  2. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Brian Costa has waaaaay too much time on his hands.

    • skitchx48 - Sep 3, 2011 at 1:40 AM

      And not enough saliva.

  3. paulsdamnblog - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    You know there are soooooooo many worse things that he can be licking on the mound, and he’s Met, so lets all be thankful its only his fingers.

  4. SmackSaw - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I bet he ‘adjusts’ himself with the same hand. It gives his immune system something to do.

    • cur68 - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM

      Oh great. There’s the mental picture I was hoping to avoid. The really rueful thing is that you are probably right. Bleh. I just threw up. I hope you’re happy now.

      • SmackSaw - Sep 2, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        The mental picture is getting larger and more vivid!!!

  5. Jonny 5 - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I’m thinking Dickey was referring to his mental state actually. Pelfry is a bit of a spaz. I wonder how many microorganisms he consumes on a night he pitches? His mouth is probably like a lab culture run amok.

  6. Old Gator - Sep 2, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    My Catahoula leopard hound, Cloverfield, licks my toes a lot. So what?

    • cur68 - Sep 2, 2011 at 4:02 PM

      Hey, my favorite ‘cur’ dog! I always wanted one of those but wound up with a Border Collie instead (probably for the best; a Louisiana breed would probably perish in the cold up here). Lovely, lovely dogs. Always reminded me of Blue Heelers and such. You just wash those feet regular, hear? Don’t want old Cloverfield catching anything from you.

      • Old Gator - Sep 2, 2011 at 7:13 PM

        Yeah, she gets away with murder because she’s so gorgeous. Also much smarter than most conservatives. She got her name from the way she sits. My wife found her rooting around by some dumpsters behind the Cuban cafe where we usually have breakfast, starving and emaciated, as a puppy. No chip. No collar. We advertised. No takers. Meanwhile she took our house apart, disemboweling cushions, marking furniture, killing birds and possums in the yard (their leaps are uncanny, as if JATO assisted) and swiping squeeze bottles of mayonnaise and barbecued chickens entire from the kitchen counter. It took awhile to train her – they are incredibly strong willed, rambunctious dogs but also very affectionate.

        Then this past spring I was lying in bed watching a Feesh game from the west coast at some ungodly hour of the morning and she hopped up on the bed, turned around and sat and watched the game with me. Now you know that scene at the end of Cloverfield where they’re looking up at the creature from below and behind? Well, with that wiry body, splayed hind legs, long forelegs and big clunky head, with her ears flopped back over her shoulders, dammit man she looked exactly like that thing. My wife had given her a wifey-type name already but I was never able to relate to this pup by it again. So it goes.

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