The following is a partner post for partypoker.fr
The science of spitting
Controversy that will rain down on the player who dares to use a spitball, despite it being a common and legal method in other sports, such as cricket. Altering the physics relating to the ball’s travel towards the bat (or glove, if the pitcher does his job well enough) is a move that is, at best, somewhat dishonorable and counteracts the point of training against dry balls on the part of the hitter. But there is a science behind the spitting, and why it should be an integral part of the game.
Stepping up to the plate is a big deal, but adding another variable to the travel of the ball is really going to mix things up and get hitters to think outside of the box. The issue however is that spitting isn’t the only ball-altering approach taken by pitchers – filing, cutting, water from wet hair – there’s variety in the approach, but too many variables might make defeat the object of even using a standardized baseball.
This might all sound like we’re extolling the virtues of well-placed digital mirrors during a Partypoker tournament, but the batter can work with a ball that flies oddly with little difficulty should they learn to adapt. The issue is the removal of a standard weight and amount of air resistance that means there are infinitely more “known” plays that are going to require a batter to either install a supercomputer in their helmet, complete with heads-up display, or do what they’re likely to do now – call out a pitcher on their dirty tricks.
As for members of the Tigers camp and this method, it’s not a bad thing to see a pitcher outdo every opponent they come up against, but through skill and with no saliva or other underhanded methods is arguably going to generate more team pride than someone who’s spitting onto the ball. Some would go as far as to say this: you ain’t worth spit, if you spit.