In 2011, Jose Valverde went 52 of 52 in save opportunities, including in the playoffs. He finished the regular season with a 2.24 ERA and a 1.19 walks/hits per inning pitched. He was an All Star and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young voting. Things have not gone quite so smoothly this season. Papa Grande has already blown three saves and has a 3.91 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.
So Valverde, known by some as the Big Potato, is looking for any advantage he can get. He’s died his sorry excuse for a goatee and the little curls that come out of the back of his lid. But that hasn’t been working. So Valverde resorted to something that breaks Major League Baseball rule 8.02 (read in part below):
(b) Have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section (b) the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game.
Said “foreign substance” in this situation is saliva. Valverde was seen (by fans watching on television, not the umpires) spitting on the baseball during his save Sunday night against the Reds. With a 1-2 count against the Reds Devin Mesoraco, Valverde can spitting into his glove.
Papa Big K’ed Mesoraco swinging then retired Miguel Cairo on a ground out and Zack Cozart on a pop out for his 12th save.
Spit allows a pitcher to get more movement on the baseball because of the added weight of the saliva on one side of the baseball.
Bud Selig and his posse have not said whether Valverde would subject to discipline for hocking a loogie on the baseball, but if you ask me, he should be. Yes I know that the most noted spitter of all-time, Gaylord Perry, is in the Hall of Fame. But, rules are rules. Despite being a Tigers fan and with the Tigers ‘pen being undermanned already with Octavio Dotel out with an inflammed elbow, Valverde should get a little more than a slap on the wrist.
If anything, it’ll give us Tigers fans a break from his dog and pony show.
Jose Valverde’s ‘spitball’ clip goes viral, raises more questions than answers [Big League Stew]
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