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Alex Sanabia says he didn’t know the spitter was against the rules

May 25, 2013, 10:48 AM EDT

Alex Sanabia 1

Marlins right-hander Alex Sanabia was seen spitting on the baseball during his start Monday night against the Phillies, a clear violation of MLB rules. However, it went unnoticed by umpires and it appears that he will not receive any sort of punishment.

As for Sanabia’s defense, well, he’s pleading ignorance on the whole thing. The Associated Press has the story:

Sanabia said Friday he spit on a baseball earlier in the week to get a better grip, not to get more movement on his pitches. He also repeated he didn’t know it was illegal.

“I didn’t know. I was in my zone and just grooving. It’s something you live and learn from. I didn’t mean anything bad by it or I didn’t mean to do anything more,” Sanabia said. “It’s something that showed up that way and people all of a sudden just create their own perception of.”

While one could argue that Sanabia didn’t gain a significant advantage by spitting on the baseball as opposed to using something like pine tar that could actually have a major impact on movement, that’s one weak excuse. For what it’s worth, Sanabia denied spitting on the baseball in previous outings, saying that he usually just licks his fingers to get a better grip. However, he spit directly on the baseball in this instance because the ball was “super slick.”

Sanabia is slated to make his next start tomorrow against the White Sox. He figures to be on his best behavior.

  1. unclemosesgreen - May 25, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    In a related future story, Sanabia just lost about 5 inches of break on ole Uncle Charlie.

    • ezthinking - May 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Don’t know shit about baseball or physics do you?

      • djpostl - May 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        You’re right. Pitchers just try to doctor the ball and baseball banned the spitter because that shit just makes it fly straight as an arrow.

      • ezthinking - May 25, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        and you don’t get it as well.

        Throw a ball sometime. Read a book. Watch a game. Get a clue.

      • eightyraw - May 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

        Sanabia was not trying to throw a true “spitter,” where the ball would gain unusual movement (less control). He thoroughly rubbed the spit into the ball in an attempt to gain more control (similar to using pinetar or sunscreen). None of his pitches moved oddly or showed strange spin deflection that start, including the pitch immediately following the documented spit. That pitch, by the way, was a four-seam fastball. Sanabia doesn’t even throw a curveball and his slider behaved as it has all year.

        Cute joke, but ezthinking is correct.

      • eightyraw - May 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        We have pFX data and pFX experts that clearly show neither Bucholz nor Sanabia gained anything from (assumed, in the case of Bucholz) doctoring of the ball. Spin deflection, movement, velocity: all mirrored season and career norms. Is it against the rules? Absolutely. Did it benefit these pitchers? Not at all.

      • unclemosesgreen - May 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

        Hey too bad I was actually out working all day instead of here talking shit. Looks like a real jackass crawled out of his hole for a brief second – and the anonymity of the internet just saved another life.

        EZ – I’ve forgotten more about baseball than you’ll ever know. Again, too bad about your anonymity. If you’d made that comment to me at a party or a bar, everyone I know would be slowly backing away from you and looking for an exit.

      • eightyraw - May 25, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        Whoa, calm down. Everyone is a tough guy on the internet, but we get it – you’re the toughest. Being violent (and threatening lives) is a totally rational response to being told by a stranger that you “don’t know shit about baseball.” And we believe that you’ve forgotten plenty about baseball. Otherwise why would you say that Sanabia throws a curve when that pitch has never been in his repertoire? Hope to see you at a party sometime – you seem like fun!

      • sabatimus - May 26, 2013 at 1:29 AM

        Wow, ezthinking and his alter ego eightyraw should quite while they’re behind.

  2. waiverclaim - May 25, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Another fair excuse would be “I play for the Marlins, I thought no one watched our games.”

    • Old Gator - May 25, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      It’s been done.

      • Old Gator - May 25, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        And done.

      • Old Gator - May 25, 2013 at 11:42 AM

        And done again.

    • bigleagues - May 25, 2013 at 1:01 PM

      Pleading ignorance does, in fact, work sometimes.

      Don King once got off on tax evasion charges by claiming he didn’t know he had to pay taxes.

  3. sabatimus - May 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    I am, obviously, going to call BS on this one.

    • Old Gator - May 25, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      You can’t do a worse job at it than Joe West. Calling balls and strikes is…

      Oh, that BS….

  4. joeflaccosunibrow - May 25, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    This reminds me of the greatest clip, ever, on Seinfeld!

  5. Old Gator - May 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Incidentally, Sanabia was on good behavior that night. As far as ignorance, it’s just that the Chihuahua heads up the department that censors newspaper and magazine articles before they’re left around the clubhouse for the indentured servants in the funny uniforms with the gonorrhea-discharge colored M on them. Black bars are stamped across anything that might disclose the kind of money other ballplayers are making, references to “free agency” and “playing one’s way the fuck out of here,” as well as across anything untoward that might distract the ballplayers from keeping their minds on the game. So efficient are the Chihuahua’s factotums at placing unseemly printed material sous rature (sorry, once a poststructuralist, always a poststructuralist) that one of the recent callups from AA, entertaining one of the Feesh groupies, was heard through a teammate’s adjacent closet wall at the team budget motel asking “hey, what are those???”

  6. DJ MC - May 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    If I’m not mistaken, licking your fingers is also against the rules as a pitcher.

    • eightyraw - May 25, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      You are mistaken. A pitcher can lick his fingers, but he must wipe them off before touching the ball.

      “8.02 The pitcher shall not—

      (a) (1) While in the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s plate, touch the ball after touching his mouth or lips, or touch his mouth or lips while he is in contact with the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher must clearly wipe the fingers of his pitch- ing hand dry before touching the ball or the pitcher’s plate. EXCEPTION: Provided it is agreed to by both managers, the umpire prior to the start of a game played in cold weather, may permit the pitcher to blow on his hand.”

      • mikhelb - May 25, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        So DJ MC was correct, a pitcher can’t lick his fingers, read the rule and you’ll see there is an exception: the pitcher CAN lick his fingers when he is not touching the ball nor the pitchers plate but he as to dry them before he touches the ball, the pitcher CAN’T lick his finger at any moment when he is in contact with the pitchers plate.

      • eightyraw - May 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

        I did read the rule. In fact, I quoted it in my previous comment. A pitcher can lick his fingers. It happens all the time. He must wipe his fingers off immediately afterwards.

      • DJ MC - May 25, 2013 at 11:40 PM

        I was referring to the reference in the post, though. The pitcher admitted to licking his fingers to get a better grip on the ball. It seems unlikely that he would wipe his hand in between if that was the goal, just like people who lick their finger to turn a page don’t wipe.

      • eightyraw - May 26, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        Is there a rule that all readers must wipe their fingers after licking and before turning? There is a rule for pitchers, but both groups lick for the very same reason.

        Go grab a baseball. Pay attention to how your grip feels. Now lick two fingers. Then, because this is the rule, make a quick swipe/pinch at your pant leg just like your favorite pitcher does. Your fingers should still be wet – there is no quality control here. Now grip the ball.

        Sanabia admits to licking his fingers to get a better grip. Watch him pitch and see if he doesn’t go to his pants or hat after each lick.

    • natew333 - May 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      Mike Pelfrey begs to differ…

  7. kevinbnyc - May 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Took a page out of Bo Porter’s great book of excuses, I see.

  8. bringbackkosar - May 25, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    I also believe Amanda Bynes when she says it was a vase and not a bong she tossed out the window of her 36th floor apartment when the cops came in

    • DJ MC - May 25, 2013 at 11:42 PM

      On her defense, it doesn’t seem very difficult to turn one into the other.

      Speaking of, I just received a text from her asking if I can be her attorney.

  9. cubfan531 - May 25, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    You know, sadly, I’m not going to call BS on it right away. If there’s any team that would skimp on the rubbing mud to improve the grip on the ball, it’d be the Marlins. We all know that if Loria can avoid spending an extra couple hundred dollars at the expense of the quality of the on-field product, he’ll do it.

  10. dancingislife999 - May 25, 2013 at 5:34 PM


  11. dancingislife999 - May 25, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Ignorance of law is no defense. The fact that he did not know that it was illegal to throw a spitter is no defense. His other defenses could be: Insanity (a good defense seeing that he playing for the Marlins), involuntary intoxication (equivalent of insanity), duress (someone threatened to trade him to the Mets unless he threw a spitter).

  12. dirtyharry1971 - May 25, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    This could be a good excuse for the bluejays coach and GM, they can say they didnt realized losing was bad…

  13. eagles512 - May 25, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    How he’s not suspended is a joke

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