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Mariano Rivera's spitball


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#1 Mooch

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:23 AM

Interesting video from last night's game:

http://www.youtube.c...player_embedded

How in the world did the umps miss this spitball? It seems pretty blatant.

#2 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:28 AM

You don't spit directly on the ball when throwing a spitter, though. You spit (or load up) your hands, and use your fingers to apply that substance to the ball in a particular spot. And in the playoffs, with about 600 cameras around the park focused on the pitcher at all times, spitting on the ball in a clumsy attempt to cheat would be monumentally stupid. Rivera is not a stupid man.

There's been a lot said about Rivera over the years, and there's never once been a sniff of cheating. My guess is that it's the camera angle that makes it look like he spit on the ball.

#3 Worst Trade Evah


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:29 AM

QUOTE (Mooch @ Oct 20 2009, 09:23 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Interesting video from last night's game:

http://www.youtube.c...player_embedded

How in the world did the umps miss this spitball? It seems pretty blatant.

This is something I've always wanted to know about the Pitch F/X stuff. Anecdotal accounts, like Boswell, have spitballs, scuff balls and the like representing a decent proportion of pitches thrown. Yet, pitch f/x categorizes things neatly into little clean groups. Either people aren't doctoring balls much or pitch f/x is making some garbage categories (slow breaking balls?). What did pitch f/x think this pitch was?

#4 Mooch

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:33 AM

QUOTE (Smiling Joe Hesketh @ Oct 20 2009, 09:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You don't spit directly on the ball when throwing a spitter, though. You spit (or load up) your hands, and use your fingers to apply that substance to the ball in a particular spot. And in the playoffs, with about 600 cameras around the park focused on the pitcher at all times, spitting on the ball in a clumsy attempt to cheat would be monumentally stupid. Rivera is not a stupid man.

There's been a lot said about Rivera over the years, and there's never once been a sniff of cheating. My guess is that it's the camera angle that makes it look like he spit on the ball.


I completely agree with you -- I don't think that this is any evidence of a pattern of cheating of any sort. However, Mariano's intent doesn't really matter in this one particular case since it seems pretty clear from the video that he did spit directly on the ball. The umps should have caught this. Ball 1.

Edited by Mooch, 20 October 2009 - 08:33 AM.


#5 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:34 AM

QUOTE (Mooch @ Oct 20 2009, 09:33 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I completely agree with you -- I don't think that this is any evidence of a pattern of cheating of any sort. However, Mariano's intent doesn't really matter in this one particular case since it seems pretty clear from the video that he did spit directly on the ball. The umps should have caught this. Ball 1.

I don't honestly know if he spit directly on the ball from the video. It sure looks like it, but camera angles can be very deceiving and I'm not confident enough to say without reservation that he spit right on the ball.

#6 Jnai


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:53 AM

Throwing a spitball by actually spitting on the ball would be like babysitting by actually sitting on a baby.

#7 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:02 AM

It's disgusting, and he's lucky the mound wasn't electrified (ZING!), but you don't see enough to know where that loogie landed, and like the others said: This is not how you load a spitball. Not now, not during the Gaylord Perry/Bob Stanley (oh, you didn't know?) era, and not during the legal spitball era.

#8 Danny_Darwin

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:10 AM

QUOTE (Smiling Joe Hesketh @ Oct 20 2009, 09:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There's been a lot said about Rivera over the years, and there's never once been a sniff of cheating.


While I agree that this video likely doesn't mean anything, this particular defense is pretty weak.

#9 rembrat


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:18 AM

It's strange that he would hold up the ball, look at it, then hawk a huge loogie at its direction though. Guys spit all the time on the field but they never do it like that.

This is going to get around and soon we'll have a comment from Rivera, I bet. Technology rules.

EDIT: Just to be clear, I am also going with weird camera angles.

Edited by rembrat, 20 October 2009 - 09:32 AM.


#10 DLew On Roids


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:25 AM

It's an oddity of the camera angle and the 2D nature of TV.

I'm not one of those Stockholm Syndrome types who hold Rivera and Jeter up for secular sainthood. Rivera could have cheated all these years. But if this were his method of doing so, he'd have been caught by now.

#11 Razor Shines

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:32 AM

I have to agree with SJH here. That seems like a really odd way to prepare a spitball. Holding the ball 2 feet from your mouth, and with perfect aim and zero subtlety, nailing the ball with a loogie. I don't know the first thing about throwing a spitball, but that doesn't seem like the way a grizzled pro would be doing it.

I think he was just spitting. The camera angle makes it seem like he was spitting on the ball.

#12 Average Reds


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:51 AM

Let me say this as nicely as I can: This is a preposterous thread.

Watching the video, Rivera spits from a distance of about two feet and we never actually see if it hit the ball or went to the side. Stated plainly, the video is evidence of nothing.

#13 Guest_Corsi Combover_*

Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:57 AM

QUOTE (Average Reds @ Oct 20 2009, 10:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Let me say this as nicely as I can: This is a preposterous thread.

Watching the video, Rivera spits from a distance of about two feet and we never actually see if it hit the ball or went to the side. Stated plainly, the video is evidence of nothing.

It's still suspicious that he clearly looks up to see if the 2B and 3B umpires are looking at him, then hocks the loogie.

#14 Brianish

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:00 AM

QUOTE (Average Reds @ Oct 20 2009, 10:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Let me say this as nicely as I can: This is a preposterous thread.

Watching the video, Rivera spits from a distance of about two feet and we never actually see if it hit the ball or went to the side. Stated plainly, the video is evidence of nothing.


Actually, pretty sure I've got the video frozen on a spot that shows the spit traveling past the ball.

So double preposterous.

#15 chris719

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:15 AM

He would have to have amazing control of his spit to place it on the ball exactly where it needs to go from that distance.

#16 Average Reds


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:24 AM

QUOTE (Corsi Combover @ Oct 20 2009, 10:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's still suspicious that he clearly looks up to see if the 2B and 3B umpires are looking at him, then hocks the loogie.


You have no clue if that's what he's looking at. You only know that he looked at the ball, looked up, and then back at the ball before spitting.

For you to claim an ability to discern from that video both where he was looking and what his intent was is complete bullshit.

#17 Guest_Corsi Combover_*

Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:29 AM

QUOTE (Average Reds @ Oct 20 2009, 11:24 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You have no clue if that's what he's looking at. You only know that he looked at the ball, looked up, and then back at the ball before spitting.

For you to claim an ability to discern from that video both where he was looking and what his intent was is complete bullshit.

Bottom line is FOX has the footage of whether or not the spit hits the ball. It's unfortunate they cut to Scioscia literally the second the spit was at ball-level.

#18 hikeeba

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:29 AM



Looks like it's behind the ball. You can see a couple streams of spit below the ball.

#19 Brianish

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:31 AM

Yeah that's almost exactly the frame I had.

#20 Gambler7

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:35 AM

I don't think this is a big deal, but if he wasn't trying to get some spit on the ball, why was he spitting anywhere close to his hand as he did? Plenty of open area all around, to lean his head forward and let it fly. He spit down directly near his hand/ball area. Little weird, but, ultimately just a fun storyline to a good series so far. Interesting to see if Scioscia does anything with this (have the umps check him next time he comes out, etc).

#21 Bongorific

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:48 AM

What pitch did this occur before? When he was first brought in?

My hunch is that he was just spitting while holding the ball. However, for a smart player, spitting in the general direction of the ball while examining it is a pretty dumb move.

#22 pedro1918

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:51 AM

QUOTE (Bongorific @ Oct 20 2009, 11:48 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What pitch did this occur before? When he was first brought in?

Yes, before his first pitch.

#23 24JoshuaPoint


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:54 AM

QUOTE
He would have to have amazing control of his spit to place it on the ball exactly where it needs to go from that distance.


Thankfully it seems as tho you've never chewed tobacco. Hitting an open soda can top from that distance is rather easy.

#24 CaptainLaddie


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:55 AM



#25 Brianish

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:58 AM

QUOTE (Gambler7 @ Oct 20 2009, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think this is a big deal, but if he wasn't trying to get some spit on the ball, why was he spitting anywhere close to his hand as he did? Plenty of open area all around, to lean his head forward and let it fly. He spit down directly near his hand/ball area. Little weird, but, ultimately just a fun storyline to a good series so far. Interesting to see if Scioscia does anything with this (have the umps check him next time he comes out, etc).


Because he's in the middle of an ALCS game and isn't particularly thinking about it? But if we really want analysis, Mo has always repped out as a guy very concerned with propriety. I suspect he's in the habit of spitting in the most inconspicuous way possible.

There are a lot of Yankees I can't stand, but there's no reason to think Mo would cheat; quite the opposite, he's always been a stand up guy. Dude's a class act. This is bunk.

#26 Danny_Darwin

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:10 AM

QUOTE (Brianish @ Oct 20 2009, 11:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Because he's in the middle of an ALCS game and isn't particularly thinking about it? But if we really want analysis, Mo has always repped out as a guy very concerned with propriety. I suspect he's in the habit of spitting in the most inconspicuous way possible.

There are a lot of Yankees I can't stand, but there's no reason to think Mo would cheat; quite the opposite, he's always been a stand up guy. Dude's a class act. This is bunk.


Once again, although I don't think he did anything wrong here, I really don't think the "he's a good dude!" defense or the "nobody has ever suspected this before!" defense is valid in 2009 whether you're talking about Mariano Rivera or Ronnie Belliard. Plenty of people nobody suspected of anything have been caught cheating, and plenty of them have been described as "classy" or "stand up" at different points in their careers. There's no reason to think that Rivera (or anyone) is on a different moral plain than the rest of Major League Baseball just because he seems like a nice guy.

#27 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:10 AM

QUOTE (Gambler7 @ Oct 20 2009, 11:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I don't think this is a big deal, but if he wasn't trying to get some spit on the ball, why was he spitting anywhere close to his hand as he did? Plenty of open area all around, to lean his head forward and let it fly. He spit down directly near his hand/ball area. Little weird, but, ultimately just a fun storyline to a good series so far. Interesting to see if Scioscia does anything with this (have the umps check him next time he comes out, etc).

Sheesh. Posada PEES ON HIS HANDS. Spitting on them is NOTHING compared to that.

#28 Gambler7

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:16 AM

QUOTE
There are a lot of Yankees I can't stand, but there's no reason to think Mo would cheat; quite the opposite, he's always been a stand up guy. Dude's a class act. This is bunk

Replace Mo with Andy Pettitte in that sentence.

#29 Bongorific

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:30 AM

QUOTE (pedro1918 @ Oct 20 2009, 11:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, before his first pitch.

His first pitch was a straight fastball over the outside corner to Aybar and didn't look like he had much, if any movement. The only bizarre part of the video is the manner in which he looks around before spitting. It does appear he's looking around the infield quickly just before he spits, not just looking towards the sky or something to calm himself before his first pitch.

#30 86spike


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:33 AM

Rivera looks like he spit straight on the ball, but he employs a deadly cut-loogie that has late movement darting inside and missing the ball entirely.

#31 Puffy

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:43 AM

QUOTE (pedro1918 @ Oct 20 2009, 11:51 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yes, before his first pitch.


I looked up his pitch sequence and half expected his first pitch to be some goofy breaking pitch with ridiculous movement. It would help if the conspiracy theorists could explain a motive here, since his first pitch was a 92.4 MPH cutter with 4 inches of horizontal movement. His second pitch had more horizontal break. Would a wad of phlegm really aid Mariano's cutter? I admit I'm not up on the physics of baseball as it pertains to spitballs, but I was under the impression that "the spitball" was a particular pitch in and of itself, not just spitting on a baseball for some enhanced effect. Can spit be used to improve your typical pitch repertoire? I'm skeptical...




#32 Puffy

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:55 AM


And this thread should be renamed: "Video at an awkward angle of Mariano Rivera spitting in the direction of a baseball with the camera cutting to another image before it is apparent where the spit has landed and Rivera subsequently throws one of his signature cut fastballs which shows no effect of the ball having a loogie on it"



#33 Brianish

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:56 AM

QUOTE (Danny_Darwin @ Oct 20 2009, 12:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There's no reason to think that Rivera (or anyone) is on a different moral plain than the rest of Major League Baseball just because he seems like a nice guy.


Is that really what you thought my point was? rolleyes.gif

#34 Salem's Lot


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 12:06 PM

I am convinced that Rivera was in no way trying to doctor the baseball to gain any kind of advantage. I'm also convinced that if this was a Boston pitcher, that it would be the lead story on ESPN and he would be called a cheater for the next six months, ending in a congressional investigation.

#35 Big CPAPi

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 12:15 PM

QUOTE (Bongorific @ Oct 20 2009, 12:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
His first pitch was a straight fastball over the outside corner to Aybar and didn't look like he had much, if any movement. The only bizarre part of the video is the manner in which he looks around before spitting. It does appear he's looking around the infield quickly just before he spits, not just looking towards the sky or something to calm himself before his first pitch.


He also entered the game with a runner on second. Looked to me like he was taking a quick glance at the bases to make sure he had situational awareness.

#36 ElcaballitoMVP

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 12:26 PM

IF he did spit on the ball, would that be considered "doctoring" the ball? Regardless of if it gave him any additional movement, it may have made the ball a little stickier and easier to grip. Guys usually lick their fingers, when they're allowed to go to the mouth, in order to get that moisture to help the grip. I've never seen anyone spit directly on the ball while on the mound.

#37 ngruz25


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 12:38 PM

QUOTE (Puffy @ Oct 20 2009, 12:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The spitball stuff is obviously stupid (seriously, come on), but jeez would ya look at that Mariano Rivera Personal Strike Zone!

#38 Jnai


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:03 PM

QUOTE (ngruz25 @ Oct 20 2009, 12:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The spitball stuff is obviously stupid (seriously, come on), but jeez would ya look at that Mariano Rivera Personal Strike Zone!

Yes, if only other players in the same game on both teams had been given such a generous strike zone with LHH at the Plate.

#39 Mussina7280

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:13 PM



You can clearly see the spit go pass the ball.

#40 ngruz25


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:15 PM

QUOTE (Jnai @ Oct 20 2009, 02:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Shut up Mr. Smarty Pants Guy With Facts That Refute My Statement, Which I Will Choose to Ignore, I'm making a point.

#41 Puffy

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:17 PM


MLB has made a statement:

MLB Absolves Mariano Rivera of Alleged Spitball

QUOTE
Major League Baseball’s Department of Operations has investigated the available video and still photographs surrounding the “Mariano Rivera spitball” controversy, and has found no evidence that the Yankees’ closer actually spit on a baseball, an MLB spokesman said Tuesday.

The controversy, sparked by the Angels blog “Halos Heaven,” concerned Rivera’s entry to Monday’s American League Championship Series Game 3. Fox video showed Rivera, after completing his warmup pitches, turning away from home plate and spitting toward the ball. However, the video didn’t make clear where the spit landed.

The commissioner’s office felt compelled to investigate, given the fury surrounding the accusation, yet the lack of a smoking gun essentially ended the query in a few hours -- short of new evidence surfacing.


Are the Angel's fans really taking THIS seriously? I mean c'mon!

#42 Puffy

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:19 PM

QUOTE (Puffy @ Oct 20 2009, 03:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are the Angel's fans really taking THIS seriously? I mean c'mon!

Apparently so...

QUOTE
Personally, the video you are about to watch is pretty amazing: I would say this is pretty conclusive evidence of why Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera is able to throw only one pitch that has unpredictable, yet precise movement.

He has mastered the Angels so far in the ALCS but has Major League Baseball gotten a look at how he "warms up" for his appearance on the mound? You be the judge...

With a tie game in the bottom of the 10th, the Yankees bring in Rivera.
After warming up, he has his back to home plate so the home plate ump can't see.
He looks down at the ball, then up to see if the 2nd base ump is watching.
He then looks back at the ball and appears to spit on it.
And when he tests clean for steroids they say he is not a cheater.
The spitball was banned by baseball in the early 1920s. It gave the pitcher an unfair advantage with the "funny" movement that the pitch seemed to make, and was deemed unsafe to batters as the ball was not as visible when marred with foreign substances.



#43 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:42 PM

Clearly he should be banned for this.

I await Frogboy's opinion on this.

#44 Discofever

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:11 PM

Anyone who knows anything about baseball, specifically pitching and spitballs, knows that if Mo was trying to throw a spitball, he is probably the worst spitballer of all time.

And those pictures only prove its a bad angle. The spit is below the ball.


I mean seriously. There are specifics to spitballs. Where you place the spit, how you grip it, etc. So you wouldn't just spit on it with no precision like that. Also, why wouldn't he do it before his warm-ups?


I just hope this doesn't falsely tarnish is legacy in any way. If it does and this lingers, the creator of that video needs to die.

Edited by Discofever, 20 October 2009 - 03:12 PM.


#45 CantKeepmedown

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:28 PM

Rivera could have a lot of fun with this tonight, if he happens to get into the game.

Slowly walk around the mound. and take a look at every ump. Hock up a tremendous loog, hold the ball at waist level, and slowly let the spit come out of his mouth. Then, right when the loog gets near the ball, suck it right back up into his mouth.

Then proceed to throw cutters and get everybody out.



#46 David Laurila


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:31 PM

QUOTE (Discofever @ Oct 20 2009, 09:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I just hope this doesn't falsely tarnish is legacy in any way.


The only tarnishing has been to the credibility of the Angels fan site in question. Reading the thread(s) over there is highly entertaining.

#47 The Gray Eagle


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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:36 PM

This controversy might cost him his 13th consecutive MVC* award.




*Most Valuable Cyborg



#48 Discofever

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:41 PM

QUOTE (CantKeepmedown @ Oct 20 2009, 04:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Rivera could have a lot of fun with this tonight, if he happens to get into the game.

Slowly walk around the mound. and take a look at every ump. Hock up a tremendous loog, hold the ball at waist level, and slowly let the spit come out of his mouth. Then, right when the loog gets near the ball, suck it right back up into his mouth.

Then proceed to throw cutters and get everybody out.


Yes. This.

#49 wallypip

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:41 PM

I think everyone has already done a fine job of pointing out the ridiculous elements of this story, but I'll add one more. A spit ball is actually an extreme sinker. The pitcher lubes the ball, then gets a little saliva on his fingertips, then lets the ball slide out to cause a forward spinning motion. This causes an extreme drop. Rivera has never thrown anything resembling that. If 20 seconds after spitting on the ball, he broke off a 90 MPH forkball with a 2 foot drop then that would be suspicous.

#50 aichtal

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 06:23 PM

Pretty impressive wringing 3 pages out of this "story".