May 26, 2013, 9:28 PM EDT
Remember Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia, who last Monday night did his best impression of Leo and Kate on the Titanic?
Immediately after giving up a home run to Dom Brown, Sanabia very clearly spit on the baseball, which you can see above and in this three-image gallery:
And that, as we all know, is plainly against the rules:
The pitcher shall not –
(2) expectorate [spit] on the ball, either hand or his glove;
OK, apparently not all of us. Sanabia claims he was clueless. From Big League Stew via the AP:
Sanabia said Friday he spit on a baseball earlier in the week to get a better grip, not to get more movement on his pitches. He also repeated he didn’t know it was illegal.
“I didn’t know. I was in my zone and just grooving. It’s something you live and learn from. I didn’t mean anything bad by it or I didn’t mean to do anything more,” Sanabia said. “It’s something that showed up that way and people all of a sudden just create their own perception of.”
Sanabia hasn’t been reprimanded, and it’s now been a week, so it doesn’t look like anything more is going to come of this. Then again, doctored-ball suspensions don’t come around very often. As Deadspin points out, prior to Joel Peralta’s eight-game ban for the use of pine tar last season, no one had been suspended for an act like this since 2005.
Speaking of which, you can thank Peralta for what was likely the all-time best segment of Talking Baseball with Dutch, during which Darren Daulton compared not having to surrender one’s glove to not having to take a breathalyzer test, using very explicit detail in talking his way through the latter example.
Turning this back around to Sanabia, I believe him. And you can file this as just the latest example of an athlete or coach not knowing the rules, which never ceases to be remarkable.
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