Spitting Out the Game

wide shot of the inside of Rogers Centre during a Blue Jay game when the stands are mostly filled

We’ve watched a lot of baseball lately. And because we’re at the mercy of someone else’s channel selection and we don’t get our faves, it’s Family Feud and baseball, ad nauseum, on TV nights.

We enjoy the game and its subtle strategy. I used to occasionally attend Blue Jay games when I worked in Toronto and followed the team closely. But now I remember the aspect of baseball that turned me off TV coverage.

The spitting.

Oh, Buck Martinez is a close second, as I noted in a recent tweet.

His delivery is a cross between Will Ferrell’s imitation of Harry Caray and an over-the-top 1950’s radio DJ. Annoying and affected. But spitting is worse. The camera will close in on, say, Anthony Kay making his MLB debut against the Tampa Bay Rays. It’s a big deal for him and the team. The frame narrows on Kay’s fuzzy face and statement-making glasses. This is his moment. And he lobs a large, white blob of spit. Thanks, Anthony.

One can anti-Buck the game with the volume control and still keep up with what’s going on. However, listening to Buck with no picture is unthinkable.

They all do it. Somehow, it became part of the game. For the most part, it’s not so bad when you’re there, watching live, but in close-up, it’s disgusting. And it’s unnecessary.

As The New York Post noted a couple of years ago, players continuously eat sunflower seeds or chew gum. Spitting is a throwback to the chewing tobacco days. It’s a bad habit, nothing more. They could stop if they wanted to. Granted, changing any habit is hard, and my turning tummy isn’t a good enough reason.

My proposal. Batting helmets already protect the jawline. Extend them to the front, covering the mouth entirely, and give players a choice: don’t spit, or wear this for the entire game. In addition, that style of helmet might have saved the fractured face of Braves’ outfielder Charlie Culberson who was plowed by a 90 MPH line drive.

Another thought: designated spit breaks during commercials. There’s a seventh-inning stretch? What about the third inning drool? Viewers wouldn’t miss any action or be subjected to the nasty habit. Yes, these ideas are terrible but there has to be a better way!

6 thoughts on “Spitting Out the Game”

  1. I met a kid who attended a university in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship & he told me the kids are encouraged to chew tobacco that has fiberglass mixed in — which helps cut the cheek so the nicotine can get into the blood stream faster. I suppose that’s why they spit it out — so they don’t swallow the fiberglass. Yuck! He said hockey players put the tobacco/fiberglass mix between their toes. I could not believe this is a practice that still goes on. Unbelievable, in this day & age with what we know about oral cancer & nicotine addiction. Sheesh.

  2. This post is further reason why I don’t watch baseball. And it reminds me of my love/hate relationship with tennis. I love love love watching tennis (that match with Bianca & Serena… UH-Mazing!) but the grunting? I can hardly stand it anymore. I turn the volume way down or on mute! Not as gross as gobs of spit but annoying just the same!

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