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Apparently MLB is going to ignore Alex Sanabia throwing a spitball

May 22, 2013, 9:40 AM EDT

Alex Sanabia 1

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised about this. Baseball ignores a lot of things which happen in Miami these days. And they’re not terribly big on paying attention to things which can clearly be seen on video replay. But I have to say, totally ignoring Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia hocking a loogie on a baseball the other night is pretty damn bold of them.

But that’s what they’re doing, it seems. Matt Gelb of the Philly Inquirer reports that no one from MLB has contacted Sanabia. We have had no statement from the league that it’s looking into the matter. Nothing, apparently, is going to come of this.

Cops didn’t see it, he didn’t do it, apparently.

  1. baseballicious - May 22, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Well, they did the same thing when Jose Valverde did it last year.

    • skids003 - May 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      I think it’s great that MLB ignores the media.

  2. chill1184 - May 22, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Over/Under on the number or spitball incidents that pop up as a result of this?

    • ezthinking - May 22, 2013 at 1:53 PM


  3. ptfu - May 22, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    I guess MLB just doesn’t give a spit.

  4. Kevin S. - May 22, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Baseball will overreact to Sanabia’s spitball in twenty years.

  5. lyon810 - May 22, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    I would love some ballsy pitcher a la Chris Perez to do this on purpose and when then league tries to come after him throw this back in their face.

    It’s like when a cop gives you a jaywalking ticket and as he’s writing it people are jaywalking across the same intersection.

    • sportsfan18 - May 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Well said and my thoughts exactly. I’d really like to see someone do this and then fight it as at some point MLB would have to address it, if more and more pitchers began doing it. All they could do, is draw a line in the sand and say from this point on, say June 18th, we’ll begin enforcing punishment for doing this. This way, everyone will have been put on notice and they wouldn’t be punishing someone who had done it previously…

      But somehow I doubt MLB would look for or try to take a good way out so they are simply backing themselves into a corner. This should be good actually…

  6. card0109 - May 22, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Has anyone looked to see how long this ball stayed in play after being spit upon? It seems to me that typically, a baseball is used for 4-6 pitches and then gets tossed, fouled off, etc. It would also be interesting to see where this ball was located in/around the strike zone once it was pitched.

    *I am not saying that we should ignore this blatant disregard for safety or rules. I’m just a curious observer.

  7. xxakshunxx - May 22, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    Nice to see more people follow the its not illegal if you’re not caught theory

    • evanwins - May 22, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      He was caught. It’s right there on video.

      He is caught blatantly and obviously breaking the rules and Major League Baseball does nothing about it.

      That’s some nice example the people chosen to oversee America’s Pastime are setting for our children. Tough to be proud of our sport sometimes.

      • baseballisboring - May 22, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        yuck, no need to start a melodramatic “but what about the kids?” thing.

  8. tomemos - May 22, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    I agree it’s against the rules and MLB shouldn’t ignore it, but is spitting on the ball definitely the same as “throwing a spitball”? My understanding is that the benefits of spit aren’t automatic; the ball still has to be thrown a certain way, and no one’s shown that the ball was doing anything unusual after he spit on it.

    • Kevin S. - May 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Corking your bat or taking HGH don’t provide any benefits either, but that doesn’t stop MLB from punishing players who get caught doing those things.

      • malbrecht4 - May 22, 2013 at 11:00 AM

        Corking your bat was done to lighten the bat without losing any mass. Many of the bats today are hollowed out at the top, which achieves the same effect. By allowing the players to use these bats, MLB has in effect made corking the bat legal.As for HGH not providing any benefits, well you keep clinging to that raft.

      • Kevin S. - May 22, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        I’m clinging to science. What do you have?

      • malbrecht4 - May 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        Bat corking increases bat speed. It helps you get the bat around quicker, It has nothing to do with power or distance. The “scientists” were testing for the wrong thing, because they didn’t know anything about baseball, and neither do you. As for HGH. Of course it increases muscle growth, and lessens recovery time. Obviously that helps your performance. You put in a link to a story that you didn’t even read all the way through. Use some common sense

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 22, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        There is only 1 benefit from corking a bat. It allows you to use a longer bat that weighs less than it would normally. You’re still losing power despite how much faster you can swing it, the only help you’re getting is length.

      • tycobbfromfangraphs - May 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Malbrecht, ya have no clue what you’re talking about when it comes to physics of corked bats.

        For one, you know how a hitter can achieve the same effect that you’re talking about?
        By using a LIGHTER BAT.
        The tiny bat speed gain you’re getting from going from 36 to 34 is a drop in the water compared to the kinetic energy lost by the cork.

        Seriously just stop

      • paperlions - May 22, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Damnitkevin, stop providing facts….how in the hell are people supposed to defend an indefensible position or cling to their unproven notions if you keep throwing facts in their face. Stop trolling the ignorant!

      • Kevin S. - May 22, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        “However, it hasn’t been shown conclusively to improve either strength or endurance.”

        Who didn’t read the link all the way through, again?

      • malbrecht4 - May 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM


        I will repeat
        Corking your bat was done to lighten the bat without losing any mass. Many of the bats today are hollowed out at the top, which achieves the same effect. By allowing the players to use these bats, MLB has in effect made corking the bat legal.

        The cork was used to fill in the hole they drilled. They needed to cover it up and resand it, so nobody could tell. Why do players choke up? Does it give them better bat control? Losing power doesn’t matter. If Tye Cobb were alive he’d be making fun of you. Hit em where they aint.

      • Kevin S. - May 22, 2013 at 2:07 PM

        The only way to lighten anything without affecting the mass is to decrease the local gravity. Get back to me when you figure out how to do that.

      • paperlions - May 22, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        Exactly. Without leaving Earth, you can’t change the weight of anything without changing it’s mass….plus, all studies conclusively showed that the reduction in mass caused by corking outweighed any potential increase in bat speed (i.e. the ball traveled less far).

        Ugh, talk about something dense that could use some corking to increase the speed at which it works.

    • dowhatifeellike - May 22, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      It doesn’t matter if he gained anything or not; the rules are the rules. Robbing a bank is still illegal even if you end up with a broken leg and zero cash.

    • tomemos - May 22, 2013 at 10:52 AM

      I agree, which is why I said at the beginning that it’s against the rules and shouldn’t be ignored. I’m just quibbling about Craig’s phrasing.

  9. stex52 - May 22, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    It is illegal. But videos are not at this time an official record of the game. He has to be caught by the umpires. It’s pretty embarrassing. But what are you going to do now? Retroactively call the pitch a ball? The umpires need to do their job better.

    • Old Gator - May 22, 2013 at 10:42 AM

      This seems a lot like what happens when someone videos cops beating the crap out of someone and the DA declines to prosecute for “lack of evidence.”

      It’s also the Feesh, remember. When Scrooge McLoria guts a team and destroys an entire baseball market, nothing gets done either. So, on a scale of one to ten where the threshold for Bud Light and his Zombie Apocalypse sidekick Joe Torre to react is lost somewhere along the Y axis, where does that leave a mere spitball?

      • stex52 - May 22, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Rules of evidence are bitch aren’t they? Ask Ryan Braun.

        They should have changed those strike calls on the last out of the Rays/Jays game last night, too. Or that out call on the Cards in the World Series years ago. Or on the Astros/Mets series in ’86.

        When video of the game is the official record, which it will be when the robots take over, we can fix this. For now, they can tell the umps to be more vigilant.

  10. eagles512 - May 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Should be a fine at the very least

  11. ndrick731 - May 22, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    The hypocrite Bud Selig apparently isn’t listening to his continuous whining about the integrity of the game. What an ass.

  12. moogro - May 22, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    The floodgates of spit and lube are open!

  13. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 22, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    The camera’s caught Sanabia spitting on the ball.

    The camera’s also caught Chase Utley safe at 2nd, on what was called the 3rd out in a 1 run game.

    Ban the cameras!

  14. gerryb323 - May 22, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Look at the whole rule. Under “PENALTY: For violation of any part of Rules 8.02 (a)(2) through (6):”

    Section (e): The umpire shall be sole judge on whether any portion of this rule has been violated.

    At the time, the umpire did not judge Sanabia had violated any portion of the rule. There doesn’t seem to be any other provision for recourse (other than, of course, Selig’s “best interests of baseball” power).

  15. themagicfanguy - May 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    …yet Clay is a villain for having some rosin on his arm.

  16. onermedboxer - May 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    The metaphors and similes used for comparison in these comments are worse than a 10th grade english class

  17. drewsylvania - May 22, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    It’s an ignoring-the-rules precedent set after last season with Bud’s shameless “one-time” change of the 502-PA-to-qualify-for-batting-title rule.

  18. evanwins - May 22, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    No way MLB will do anything – it happened against the Phillies. Umps and the league take a regular sh*t on this team. Nothing new. As long as it’s only happening to the Phillies it’s okay.

  19. madhatternalice - May 22, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    There was a great writeup on Deadspin about why this wasn’t a spitball. I would think that it explains why MLB isn’t interested in this non-story.

  20. ezthinking - May 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    He spit on the ball and rubbed it up, then went to the mound, then threw a fastball.

    Feel free to read the comments to the rule:

    Rules 8.02(a)(2) through 8.02(a)(6) Comment: If a pitcher violates either Rule 8.02(a)(2) or Rule 8.02(a)(3) and, in the judgment of the umpire, the pitcher did not intend, by his act, to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball, then the umpire may, in his discretion, warn the pitcher in lieu of applying the penalty set forth for violations of Rules 8.02(a)(2) through 8.02(a)(6). If the pitcher persists in violating either of those Rules, however, the umpire should then apply the penalty.

    Oh you say, the umpire didn’t warn him! So fucking what. You do realize spitting on the ball and rubbing it up is done by about everyone including the umps? Loading up a ball for a pitch is a spitball. Walking around rubbing up the ball after you gave up a bomb and then trowing that ball 20 secends later, meh….

    Watch some games instead of bitching about non-issues.

  21. jchrish24 - May 22, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Almost like turning a blind eye to steroids how well did that turn out MLB?

  22. sportsfan18 - May 22, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I must say I’m not sure how the players union works with respect to challenging suspensions etc… But, per the MLB rule book, a spit ball is against the rules. My issue isn’t with this player, this team, the opponent in the game, but the precedent MLB is setting.

    If they think it isn’t worth while to enforce this rule, then they should begin to take the steps to eliminate this rule. How do players, teams and organizations know which rules MLB will enforce or decide to look the other way upon?

    MLB is clearly looking the other way on this. So, in the future, if a player is suspended for a few games for a completely different offense, I could see him, his agent and his team bringing this into question. They’d just have to ask why MLB looked the other way at a rules infraction clearly stated in the MLB rule book and let that player and team off the hook, yet this time they are not choosing to look the other way like they did in the other instance.

    Again, my point isn’t with the spitball Per Se…

  23. grumpyoleman - May 22, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Some people need to put down there scientific calculators and loosen their bow ties.

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