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Was Jose Valverde throwing spitballs last night?

Jun 11, 2012, 7:41 AM EDT


I was alerted to this video via Twitter by … Dallas Latos?  Who I guess is Reds pitcher Mat Latos‘ wife.  She has a blog at MLB saying so anyway. I sorta don’t care. The point of this post is the video, not who’s sending it around. And the point of the video is that it appears to show Jose Valverde doctoring up the baseball.

There are two videos, actually, one in slow motion one at full speed. They show Valverde taking the ball, put it in his glove, raising his pitching hand high in the air — classic magician’s misdirection move! — clearly working up some spit in his mouth and then bringing the glove with the ball to his face and hocking a loogie into the glove. Like, you can see the jaw muscles move and stuff.

First, video in slow motion:

Here it is at full speed:

The videos may be taken down by MLB soon. So below are a couple of captured stills. They don’t totally get it all, but know that the first one catches him in mid spit-creation:



For the record, this came before the 1-2 pitch to Devin Mesoraco. The pitch resulted in a swinging strike. According to Brooks Baseball, the pitch was a fastball. It also had more rotation on it then the other three pitches he threw.

I’m not the vice president of major league baseball in charge of on-field affairs, so I can’t make any definitive ruling here and I’ll leave it as it stands. Two thoughts, though:

  • If it was a spitball, can anyone tell me why Valverde would even bother with Angel Hernandez behind the plate calling everything within a mile of the dish a strike? and
  • If it wasn’t a spitball, how awesome is it that Mat Latos’ wife is on Twitter stirring up crap? That would be epic, yes?

Have at it, everyone.

  1. psuravens19 - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:52 AM


    Certainly looks like a spitball to me…

    • The Common Man - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:37 AM

      Oh for Chrissakes, we’re not going to start doing that “First!” crap around here are we? Congratulations, you’re douchier than Rob Dibble and Jose Valverde combined.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:47 AM

        Sheesh, a little harsh even for a Monday morning, don’t you think CM?

      • psuravens19 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:18 AM

        If it’s going to piss you off that bad, maybe I’ll do it to every post every day.

      • The Common Man - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM

        At least through hard work, perseverance, and watchfulness that would be an accomplishment. As it is, you happened along at the right time and managed to write a sentence that is the equivalent of standing behind someone and nodding your head while they’re talking. Woo freaking hoo.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:03 PM

        The Common Man has an uncommonly hot temper. Maybe he’s The Mercurial Man.

    • sonofxabitch - Jun 11, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      Would’ve been nice if these bozos showed the goddamn pitch. Fags.

      • The Common Man - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:15 PM

        That, right there…you’re comment…is disgusting. Get lost, ass.

      • The Common Man - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:15 PM


        GAH, for the love of God, I need an edit feature.

  2. hfspodcast - Jun 11, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    I will admit that I am NOT objective, but yes that looks like a spit ball.

  3. paperlions - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    Certainly suspicious. It looks like he put the ball in the palm of his glove though (it also looks like he has to reach all the way into the palm to take it back out), wouldn’t it be easier to spit on or lick the ball if he put it in the webbing?

    The FB didn’t really do anything different than most FBs with a bit of cut to it.

  4. Walk - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    Normal speed looked iffy. Slow mo looks like it though. If it is not i really dont know what else he could have been doing. That pitch moved pretty good though kinda like a two seamer. As far as a players wife posting it maybe she could have been more circumspect but i imagine the rest of us would have been upset as well if that was our family playing on the field.

  5. ravensos - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    there was a second spitter!!

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      Was it Roger McDowell in the bushes on the gravelly road?

    • paperlions - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:40 AM

      On a clay knoll?

  6. heyblueyoustink - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Best part of this article: you gave me a reason to google Dallas Latos.

    Thank you Craig, thank you. Monday morning is now oficially a little better.

    • samuellsamson - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      According to her twitter account, her tweets “are all in good funny”.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        She doesn’t want to waste characters, so that should be “all-in, good, funny.” Or she ribs the Yanks and Mets a lot and means “all in good fun, ny.”

  7. nategearhart - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Hey no, this is the GOOD kind of cheating, the kind that we’ve sorely missed since the advent of PED’s, , the kind that will get you dubbed “wily” and “crafty”, the kind that will get you into the hall of fame.

    • paperlions - Jun 11, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      We don’t know what he spit on the ball…..maybe he spit steroids on them, which should put at least an extra 5 or 6 mph on a FB.

      • nategearhart - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:08 AM

        STEROID SPIT. God help us all.

      • cur68 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        Pedro Gomez does not deny that there wasn’t steroids in that spit. In fact, he doesn’t deny that he told Valverde to do that. Dang you Pedro Gomez!

      • jimbo1949 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        FBED fastball enhancing drug. If your fastball lasts longer than four hours, please see your doctor.

      • monkeyjuice313 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:04 AM

        Valverde and steroids should never be mentioned in the same sentence. Except maybe; Valverde moved some steroids out of the way to get his burger. Glad he’s pitching better, though.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        Can his new nickname be “Spitting Cobra” or just “Camel”?

  8. kiwicricket - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Two things….he spat into his glove, has an enormous belly.

    • stlouis1baseball - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      Hahaha! He definately has an enormous belly
      On a separate note:
      You were at the Lady GaGa concert weren’t you Kiwi?
      Did you have any involvment with the prop hitting her in the head…resulting in a concussion?

      • mrwillie - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM

        I am not even gonna repeat that name, but rest assured, there’s none of that in baseball.

    • monkeyjuice313 - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      He looks like the letter P with a head.

  9. cardsglory - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    I’m pretty sure that was gum that he had in his mouth. And after he “spit”, he clearly rubbed the dirt, touched his head, touched the back of his head, then repeated it all over again. If you watch it in real time, it doesn’t look suspicious at all. I dont know if he spit on it or not, but to me, it seems like it would be kind of stupid to do all that, and then touch the ball, wipe it on your head four times, rub the dirt, etc.

    • spol85 - Jun 11, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      Pretty sure it was gum? Just wondering how you came up with that from the video. Also, who cares what he did with his bare hand after (allegedly) spitting into his glove. If the spit is on the ball or his glove already, he can rub his head the dirt etc. all he wants. Its not going to change the fact that the foreign substance is still there.

      • addictedzone - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        For spit to be a foreign substance, wouldn’t the alleged spit have to come from a person of a different nationality than the pitcher? Or does the fact that we’re talking Dominican spit on American soil qualify the loogie as a foreign substance?

  10. deathmonkey41 - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM

    Maybe they should check the DNA to see if it was, in fact, Jose, who spit on Cliff Lee’s pig wife.

  11. celauritz - Jun 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM

    Isn’t the point of a spitball to lessen the amount of rotation? It slips out of the hand and doesn’t get the backspin, making the bottom drop out of it? Not enough for me.

  12. rcali - Jun 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    My guess is that Bud will refuse to rule on this since he is so against instant reply.

    • deathmonkey41 - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM

      Well, if it’s anything like his outrage against steroids, he’ll assign someone to investigate this immediately! Is there anyone on the Tigers Board of Directors who used to be a politician and is looking for something to do?

  13. cardsglory - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Not to mention, the “spitball” was a fastball..

    • djpostl - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Not to mention it was one that Pitch/FX showed had a higher rotation that previous fastballs so something was uniquely different about it.

  14. imaginesuperbowlwin - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Now THAT is one magic loogy.

  15. kevinbnyc - Jun 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Everyone is clearly missing the true point of this post: Mat Latos’s wife is CRAZY HOT.

    • drewsylvania - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      Jack Ryan: “Is there any way you can get me aboard the Dallas?”

    • addictedzone - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM

      The moral of this story is obvious.

      Jose Valverde spit is very bad.
      Exchanging spit with Dallas Latos is very good.

  16. drewsylvania - Jun 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    @recoveringcubsfan: “Jose” is the equivalent of “Joe”.

    Joe Camel.

    Make it so.

  17. John Vincent - Jun 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Reblogged this on Johnny's Baseball Blog.

  18. catcher50 - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Someone just added 3 years to Valverde’s career. Having batters think that you load one up is better than actually doing it.

  19. georgebrett - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:21 PM


    This is so funny it’s ridiculous. 80% of all pitchers in baseball use some form of something to grip the ball differently and nobody says anything because there are pitchers on every team that do it. They’ve already changed the rule that now allows pitchers to go to their mouths while on the mound and that again is a joke. All you have to do is watch the pitchers rubbing their throwing hand on the glove hand wrist. They are rubbing a mixture of substances on their hand from their wrist and it usually has suntan lotion in it.

  20. joewilliesshnoz - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    It’s gonna take more than a little saliva to keep the Bucs in 1st place, but thanks for the help .

  21. hoacele - Jun 11, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    I watched him get ready for the 9th inning in a game at KC. He had 2 guys stand in front of him as he put a pine tar rag on his right calf. Since that incident I’ve watched him do an idiotic routine of “stretching”, which includes him rubbing his right calf with his right hand after every new ball he get. Watch the video of him rub his leg. He makes it appear to be a stretch but he’s actually wiping pine tar on his hand.

  22. djpostl - Jun 11, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I blame Kenny Rogers pine tar…

  23. ghouchens - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    I recommend that Rep. Henry Waxman hold a hearing to determine if players use spit or pine tar to enhance their careers. That way we could have another Federal Court Case and waste even more taxpayer money on this kind of bull defication.

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