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Can MLB do anything about video of an alleged spitball?

Jun 11, 2012, 8:48 AM EDT

Rivera spitball

In the wake of the alleged Jose Valverde spitball thing, the first question many people asked me was whether MLB can or would do anything about it.  My guess, based on recent history, is that they probably can do something but probably won’t either, for a couple of reasons.

The history: in game 3 of the 2009 ALCS, there was video that kinda maybe sorta showed Mariano Rivera spitting on the ball. After that began to circulate, MLB reviewed it and issued a statement calling the video “inconclusive” and letting the matter rest.  While MLB discipline is nothing if not inconsistent, that implies that, had the video been more conclusive, they could have and would have done something about it.

I can’t find the video of the Rivera incident, but I do remember it and my memory of it was that it was far more ambiguous than Valverde’s thing, so perhaps baseball will review this one too and do something about it.  It’s possible, however, that even if they do think it’s conclusive that they do nothing to Valverde for fear of wading into — shock! — more replay and second-guessing of umpires and all of that.  As it stands, I can’t remember an incident that did not get noted on the field in some way during the game that later led to discipline based on video alone.

In any event, that’s the context. Baseball should probably look into it based on their looking into the Rivera thing from 2009.  But it’s doubtful that anything — except maybe a memo to the umpires to watch Valverde more closely going forward — will happen as a result.

  1. jarathen - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    I think the most important thing here is being missed.

    In a sport where grown men spit seeds all over the place like rodents, chew tobacco (and then spit THAT), and constantly adjust themselves in front of 20-40,000 fans, it’s super gross to throw a spitball. Watching the video and/or the pictures of this incident is the ultimate diet. You will have no appetite after seeing it.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      I recommend you never watch Hobo With a Shotgun or Seven, then.

      • jarathen - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        I’ve got no qualms with blood, guts, and gore. Big fan of Kill Bill, Game of Thrones, Drive. I just think (allegedly) hocking a loogie on a baseball everyone is going to touch is kind of nasty for a grown man to do.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:26 PM

        You must be revolted by Moises Alou.

  2. marks23 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    The Mariano Rivera “spitball” was debunked pretty quickly and pretty definitively:

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM

      Well, sure it was, but that’s not the point. The point was that MLB went through the exercise of reviewing it, as they probably should here.

      • marks23 - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        I think it warrants mention. I know you were going solely on memory, but the video was not “ambiguous.” It was definitive in its vindication of Rivera.

    • Hoss - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      marks are you seriously that dense? I bet you’re still a pink comment on deadspin.

      • marks23 - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        I guess I must be that dense, since I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  3. nategearhart - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    2 things:
    1) Since everything Valverde does is (mostly) blocked by his glove, no way MLB punishes him due to inconclusivity (new word? New word.) I think they SHOULD do something, I just don’t think they will.
    2) The way to REALLY know if he spit on the ball is to see his teammate’s reactions after high-fiving him after the game. EEEEEEW….

    • sabatimus - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM

      #2 will never happen. David Ortiz spits in his hands during EVERY at bat, and after he homers do you think his teammates don’t slap hands with him?

      • nategearhart - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

        Too true, too true….

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Considering the lack of MLB’s action on poopgate with Kenny Rogers, doubt MLB does anything to Valverde either. And there was far more evidence of the former than the latter.

    Also, try running a google search for Rivera’s spitball and Halos Heaven. IIRC they were all butthurt over the incident.

  5. sabatimus - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Where’s Joe Niekro when we need him?

  6. dracko19 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Papa touches his cap and rubs his thumb under the brim after every pitch too. I’m sure its just for good luck. Meh. It’s baseball. If you ain’t cheatin, you ain’t tryin!

  7. superraiderfan1 - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    You should check the catcher’s mitt. If he did throw a spitter, that was was one big “hawkin’ loogy.” Maybe he needs to take some lessons from Boilermaker or Amanda from the Bad News Bears

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