I wrote this post in 2009 after watching the World Series with no favorite team in mind. But now that the Texas Rangers are in the World Series, I'm watching with much more interest. Being born in Paris, Texas qualifies me to be a Rangers fan. Even though I now live in Colorado, I lived in "Okrahoma" for 40-some-odd years and was always a fan of any professional team in Texas since we never had one in my home state. It has surprised me how many "hits" this blog gets with people "googling" "Why Do Baseball Players Spit So Much." Here's my take on all the flying saliva...
First posted November 9, 2009 :
Now that the World Series has ended, once again withdrawal has set in. Anytime a sporting event that lasts for an extended period of time ends, such as Wimbledon, The Olympics, football season, or a PGA golf tournament, (I'd rather watch paint dry) I go into a funk-of-sorts.
Was it just me, or did the players spit more this series than any other ? Seems as though I spent more time counting the players hawking loogies than watching the actual game. I had to wonder if baseball players create more saliva that the rest of us?"
It became apparent there were many expectorating styles. Some players were proficient in blowing spit through their teeth. Others fashioned their lips in an "O" and blew their spit into circular motions through the air. For those on the bench, the spit seemed to be sent down to the ground between the legs rather than through the fence.
Why do baseball players spit so much ? I can't remember ever seeing Roger Federer or Maria Sharapova coating the tennis court with spit. Or, Tiger Woods sending it sailing before he tees off or makes a putt. What about hockey players ? Would their spit freeze on the ice ? About the only thing I've ever seen hockey players spit is their teeth.
When tobacco chewing was in vogue, there was no question as to why they spit. Swallowing tobacco juice might cause a bit of indigestion, and possibly rid the body of worms.
Now that we all know about the chance of tobacco usage causing cancer, many players wanting to avoid that and be role models, gave up tobacco for sunflower seeds. But as far as I could tell, very few of the players had sunflower-seed-hull-filled-spit. Most of the spit just looked like plain 'ole spit. Although the consistency did vary.
Then I wonder, what position spits the most . Obviously, the catcher would have to be quite talented to get a wad of spit out from behind his mask. Because the cameras generally focus on the batter, or the batter on deck, their flying globs are captured more than any others. The pitcher also does his part to keep the mound moistened. We won't even mention the coaches and managers.
Wonder if they've ever thought about how much spit there is when sliding into home plate ?
I did notice that A-Rod sent his flying in different directions...even on his uniform. Hopefully, Kate will help him become less messy with his technique.
Chase Utley always had a little spittle attached to that growth of hair under his bottom lip.
Then there's Robinson Cano who always seemed to have a big pink bubble covering most of his face.
As far as Derek Jeter is concerned, I'm not even sure he ever spit because my focus was on those blue eyes.
The HPA (Health Protection Agency) has cautioned that spitting could increase the risk of spreading H1N1. If this is true, both stadiums should have been quarantined.
Have you ever tried to spit that much ? If you haven't, may I suggest that you try. It's almost impossible to produce that much spit, even with a cold or sinus infection, where snot is involved.
Maybe next year I'll give up my obsession with counting spits and focus on adjustments.
Updated October 19, 2011: During this World Series, any number of games can be played that involve counting the number of times any particular player spits. We'll not even mention drinking games that can be created with this action.
Choose your team, or player, or coach . . . and have fun tallying up the spits.
Go Rangers !