OT: Valverde throws a spit ball. Video included

Submitted by Blue boy johnson on June 11th, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Say it ain't so Papa Grande'

It is ungodly difficult to embed while starting a topic so I put the video in the body. Slo-mo and real speed



June 12th, 2012 at 6:12 AM ^

...he could have thrown the notorious Booger Ball, made famous back in 1888 by pitcher Cinders O'Brien who played for the Cleveland Infants. "I ain't keepin' 'em in my nose or puttin' 'em in my mustache... the ball's the next best place." 



(ed: This was an "Onionized" post. No offense meant to Cinders or his progeny.)


June 11th, 2012 at 2:32 PM ^

Disclaimer:  I know nothing about baseball.

Does this matter?  Is it a sign of disrespect or does it actually offer some kind of competitive advantage?


June 11th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

Only if you're chewing, which he wasn't. Saliva doesn't have the consistency to put extra spin on the ball. The advantage is in darkening the ball with tobacco juice, making it harder to see. If you're not chewing, the saliva is clearr and it does jack diddly.

It is against the rules, though.


June 11th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

When I get home I'll try to find the study I read that said saliva on a ball has less of an effect than a 10% increase in humidity. Other ball doctoring methods like pine tar or suntan lotion affect how the ball comes out of the hand, effecting spin and break, but saliva doesn't have the consistency to really effect that.


June 11th, 2012 at 11:44 PM ^

Humidity affects the entire ball so has no effect on the consistency of spin.  It's having the liquid, however thin, on only one part of the ball that causes the irregular aerodynamics.  It's like having a mudball in golf.

If he didn't think it worked he wouldn't take the risk.


June 12th, 2012 at 7:40 AM ^

thought he was taking a risk he would not have made it so incredibly obvious.  Papa has a lot of almost ticks and purposeless movements while on the mound, an almost endless stream of nervous energy.  What he did is clear, what also appears to be clear is that his actions lacked any malice aforethought.  I really don't think what he did was intentional and I don't think he will be disciplined for it.

panthera leo fututio

June 12th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

It's been a long time since I've been in an aerodynamics classroom, but Reynolds number is a factor here. As humidity increases, rho increases, and the Reynolds number goes up. A higher Reynolds number will yield (I think) sharper bite on a breaking ball (or cutter or splitter or whatever).

So yes, changes in humidity have an effect.


June 11th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

The spitter is a lot like a fast knuckler.  It decreases the spin. allowing any surface anomalies, including excess moisture on part of the ball, to have a greater effect on the ball.  Usually, this results in a "wicked curve" or a ball that "drops off the table" if done right.  Valverde's pitch didn't really move a lot, so I doubt that he threw a real spitter.  

The best I ever saw was around 1983 during an ESPN game between Dennis Lamp and Mike Boddicker.  It started pouring and they kept playing to try and get five innings in.  Both pitchers were making the ball fall off of the table.  

Anyway, umps, players, and coaches know when a guy starts making his pitches move more than they normally do.  It's pretty obvious when it happens, at least if it's done right.


June 11th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

In this day and age, it isn't a big deal. They rotate the balls so frequently, that pitchers just aren't able to rough the balls up as much as they used to. Plus, pitchers have learned to put tons of movement on pitches without scuffing up spitting on the ball.

To me, the part that makes me feel uneasy about this is that immediately after spitting on the ball, he reaches down to the dirt, then goes to the ball with his hand. The mixture of dirt and spit could give him a better grip on the ball. He threw a fastball though, so it doesn't seem like he was doing it to try to get a better grip on his splitter or a breaking ball. I don't know if the spit/dirt mixture would give his fastball better movement, but it doesn't seem like it would.

Anyway, I'll be really surprised if anything comes of this. Also, if you want an interesting read, check out the Wikipedia article on the spitball.


June 11th, 2012 at 3:19 PM ^

this is almost certainly about grip.  The spitter moves like a knuckleball because of its lack of spin and both are notoriously difficult to control. If Valverde's been secretly mastering the spitter, that would be a monumental waste of time.

BTW, a reporter once asked Gaylord Perry's 5 year old daughter if he threw a grease ball.  She replied on cue, "it's a hard slider."



June 11th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

#1 We Suck.

#2 Does anyone wanna pay Soriano to be a DH? He's awful hot right now

#3 - See #2


#4 We just won the latest Cuban sweepstakes for Soler. 2015 is our year baby!

#5 You know we're absolutely awful when we're not even saying wait-till-next-year. We know it'll be a few years

#6 There are few better places to watch a game than Wrigley. It's going to be 75 and sunny. Enjoy it

Blue boy johnson

June 11th, 2012 at 3:47 PM ^

I'm with Professor X. I think Tigers and Cubs square  off in the World Series just like 1907 1908 1935 1945. Cubs won the first two matchups the Tigers the next two. Time for the rubber match









June 11th, 2012 at 3:04 PM ^

Hey, whatever helps him get through a 1-2-3 inning.  Baseball has acceptable cheating and unacceptable cheating and spitballs are squarely on the acceptable side.  I'm OK with it.


June 11th, 2012 at 3:45 PM ^

They'll see this video. Hell, I'm surprised it hasn't been removed already. MLB has embraced the digital age by making any MLB content ridiculously hard to see online. You can't get any video through youtube or other normal sites. Why? Because MLB is crazy dumb.


June 11th, 2012 at 3:12 PM ^

"Crisco. Bardol. Vagisil. Any one of them will give an extra two or three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close, I'll put a little jalapeno up my nose and if I need to load the ball up, I just wipe my nose."