Did Mariano Rivera Throw a Spitball?

In the aftermath of another dramatic playoff game, we have some controversy. The Los Angeles Angels beat the Yankees 5-4 in extras last night, but the story today is whether or not Mariano Rivera cheated during Game 3. Halos Heaven, an Angels blog, has a collection of photos and video that may or may not show Rivera spitting on the ball during the 10th inning. Personally, I’d be shocked and angry, if it’s true. I hate the Yankees, but I have always respected Rivera, who should be considered the greatest closer of all time. He’s the last guy I’d expect to cheat, and it would be another black mark on baseball.

BUT… I don’t think he did it.

I have watched the video (below) a few times, and have several thoughts on the incident.

  • Would anybody, especially a seasoned veteran, be stupid enough to spit on the ball during the 10th inning of a playoff game? With cameras and people everywhere?? No way. It wasn’t like Rivera was subtle about it, either. With spitballs, pitchers usually lick their fingers, before applying saliva to the ball. Rivera just spat, and made it obvious. There’s no way he’s that dumb, right?
  • The spit doesn’t appear to hit the ball. Instead, it looks like it misses. But, it’s close.
  • I know reputations shouldn’t matter, but it does. After all these years, Rivera’s cheating now? He’s a classy guy, and that’s a fact.

If Rivera’s cheating, he’s probably been cheating for a long time. Personally, I don’t think it’s the case, but I know many disagree.

From Halos Heaven:

  • The Yankees bring in Rivera during the 10th inning.
  • 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.

Here is the video:

So, what happened? Did he spit?

And another question to ponder: Where do spitballs fit into the realm of cheating in baseball? As bad as steroids? Corking your bat? Is it all the same?

And finally, if it’s true, should Rivera be punished?


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October 20, 2009 1:18 pm

MLB rules say pitchers will be suspended 10 games for spitting on the ball.

It is obvious that he cheated. Note how he glances to the third-base and home-plate umpire before he spits directly on the ball. How can he not be suspended? I bet MLB doesn’t even address the situation. Its sad.

October 20, 2009 1:19 pm

Hard to believe he would be that stupid. Look out for this to be just another conspiracy.

October 20, 2009 1:20 pm

he looks around to make sure no one is looking

yes he spit on it

that’s what any 4 year old does i f they don’t want to get in trouble, they make sure no one is watching

and you’re blind if you don’t think he is hitting the ball

October 20, 2009 2:03 pm

Actaully, He wasn’t looking at the home plate umpire, his back was to the home plate umpire, if anything he might ahve been looking for the 2nd base ump and 3rd base umps. I do not belive he used a spitball, but that the angle is decieving. If he did use it spitball, he did for one pitch, the first of the at-bat.

October 20, 2009 3:32 pm

Looks pretty clear to me that he spit on the ball.

November 16, 2009 8:32 pm

You idiots would believe anything.

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