Buchholz, Morris and a Brief History of Spitball Accusations

I offered my explanation for Clay Buchholz‘s success this season yesterday, citing improved fastball command and a recently harnessed but always nasty changeup. Jack Morris, now on the radio call for the Toronto Blue Jays, has other ideas:

I found out because the guys on the video camera showed it to me right after the game,” he said. “I didn’t see it during the game. They showed it to me and said, ‘What do you think of this?’ and I said, ‘Well, he’s throwing a spitter. Cause that’s what it is.

The scandal, if one can even call it such, involves video of rosin on Buchholz’s left forearm. The accusations are tenuous at best, and as Morris himself put it, “I can’t prove anything. I can’t prove anything.” Although Morris wasn’t the only one to accuse Buchholz of throwing a spitter — former pitcher Dirk Hayhurst, also with the Blue Jays radio team, joined in — it’s hard to imagine these accusations going anywhere.

However, Morris and Hayhurst give us an opportunity to revisit the spitball, in my opinion one of the most unique pieces of baseball history, from its time as a legal pitch in baseball’s early years to Gaylord Perry‘s Hall of Fame spitball and everywhere in between.

Only baseball can give us a sentence like the following, from a column in the Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal in July 1991:

So it was that Burleigh Grimes managed to pile up 270 wins, most of them dripping with saliva.

The author of the column, Dan Devine, was referring to the clause in the rules added between the 1919 and 1920 seasons that banned the spitball — or perhaps more accurately the foreign-substance-ball, as it extends to things like pine tar and Vaseline as well — but grandfathered in those like Grimes who used the pitch to build a career before the rule change. As Devine mentions, however, “most major league pitchers would consider amputating their middle finger if they thought the result would give them a better split-finger pitch,” and so unsurprisingly the knuckleball lingered past Grimes’s last pitch in 1934.

Gaylord Perry is the most famous case, with a Hall of Fame candidacy and over 300 wins bolstered by the illegal pitch, in part because of his autobiographical admittance to his crime following his retirement. Don Drysdale and Preacher Roe are other famous hurlers to admit to spitball use. But as they say, if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying, and a quick look through Google’s newspaper archives shows us the spitball accusation, like we saw from Jack Morris on Thursday, has been a part of the game for ages.

Lew Burdette lasted 18 years in the major leagues, from 1950 through 1967, and although he faded hard in his late 30s, throughout his 20s he was part of the best Milwaukee Braves’ teams of the 1950s. In 1956, with the Braves winning behind a core of Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn, Milwaukee’s three closest contenders — Cincinnati, Brooklyn and St. Louis — repeatedly insisted Burdette was employing a spitter. On August 30, Pirates manager Dick Hall and infielder Dick Cole were each ejected for requesting multiple times that the umpire examine Burdette’s ball for scuffs, cuts, or spit. In April of the next season, Reds manager Birdie Tebbetts called Burdette a “cheating spitballer” — blunt, to say the least — and refused to apologize after the league declined to discipline Burdette. Tebbetts insisted Burdette used the spitter “25 per cent of the time with men on base.”

Other accusations were more isolated. Hank Aguirre, a journeyman who had his best years with the Tigers in the early 1960s, was accused by umpire Ed Runge of “spitting all over the ball” in a loss on August 27th, 1962. Runge suggested Aguirre was attempting to show him up for a disputed strike call earlier in the game by blatantly cheating. Aguirre denied the charges, saying they were “blown out of proportion.” He was not suspended. Angels pitcher Dean Chance encountered accusations of spitballing from the White Sox on May 14, 1963. His manager Bill Rigney said he didn’t “know if he throws one or not.” Rigney said Chance “has a habit of spitting on the ball” but “a lot of [pitchers] go to the mouth and wet the ball but dry their hands off on their pants or gloves.”

Such accusations were relatively common at the time; as much as pitchers could look for an advantage by tossing a knuckleball, managers could either earnestly try to catch them or they could simply try to break up their rhythm on the mound. Either way, National League president Warren Giles apparently grew weary of the whole thing by 1965. On August 4th, the Associated Press reported the league had never seen an official complaint to the league office. “If a manager has a complaint about an illegal pitch,” Giles said, “he should make it to me and the league in writing.”

And indeed, from 1965 on, open accusations were more rare, or at least more difficult to dig up through the archives, unless they involved Gaylord Perry. According to a 1979 New York Times News Service piece, Tommy John and Don Sutton were suspects as well. John even admitted to throwing Mickey Mantle one spitter in a lopsided game in 1967, but otherwise the spitball was at least publicly absent.

The question, then, is whether the decline in spitball suspects is because pitchers stopped throwing the pitch or just because everybody shut up about it. The Boston Globe ran a piece in 1969 declaring a crackdown on the spitball at the behest of NL President Giles to be “working wonders”. A 1981 Los Angeles Times article declared “Spitball Suspects Dry Up.” And a 2005 Chicago Tribune story described spitball use as “sliplping away.”

It’s hard to believe the spitball disappeared immediately following Giles’s efforts to eliminate it, but its presence in the public sphere has disappeared so much that accusations like Morris’s began to qualify as shocking. George Frazier admitted he used the spitter with the Chicago Cubs in 1985, an incident which “shocked” National League umpires. Kenny Rogers had the pine tar incident in the 2006 World Series — close enough, as most players referred to any doctored pitch as a spitter — and an accusation lobbed at Mariano Rivera by the Angels in the 2009 ALCS was quickly tossed aside by MLB. And in the most strictly-punished case of the new millennium, Rays pitcher Joel Peralta was ejected and suspended last year when umpires found pine tar in his glove last season.

For the most part, that is the extent of the spitball in the modern game. Now, we have video of some rosin on Clay Buchholz’s non-throwing arm. What does it all mean?

The spitball, as its name implies, involves wetting down the baseball, whether with spit or some other slippery substance. Rosin, on the other hand, is sticky, and if you ask Davy Jones, an outfielder who played between the American, National and even the Federal League between from 1901 through 1918, sticky just doesn’t work. As he told the Milwaukee Sentinel in 1965:

They’ve got that all wrong. Sticky stuff may help a pitcher get a better grip on the ball. But for the life of me I can’t understand how anybody can even think of using it for spitball purposes… Modern players and managers should have been around in the old days when pitchers really loaded the ball. It’s impossible to get the same effect by merely wetting the fingers, as everybody claims they’re doing now. So the chances are that none of those active today, including the managers, ever saw what I call a real spitter. To me, therefore, all the arguments are much ado about nothing. The sticky angle seems especially silly.

Jones’s words have to be taken with a grain of salt, of course — there’s a certain tinge of “back in my day” grandpa talk in his tone, and Jones was 85 years old at the time. Additionally, he was dismissing the idea that Gaylord Perry threw a spitball, but it should be noted when Perry was actually caught cheating back in 1982, it was with Vaseline on his cap, not something sticky like rosin.

Following Joel Peralta’s suspension, Tigers manager Jim Leyland offered similar comments:

I’ve been told that pine tar does absolutely nothing as far as making the ball move and everything else. In fact, I’ve been told by a lot of guys that hitters are glad they use it, because they don’t have to worry about getting beaned. If a guy’s standing out there in an obvious situation, loading Vasoline on the ball or something, that’s one thing. But putting a little rosin on it or pine tar to get a little bit better of a grip, I’m not going to say anything.

So, that leaves us with two questions concerning Buchholz. Was he throwing the wet spitter we think of when we think of Gaylord Perry? And if not, was he still in violation of Rule 8.02, which among other things bans pitchers from applying a foreign substance to the ball or defacing it?

Buchholz’s arm was sweaty, as happens throughout a baseball game, and rosin could have mixed with the sweat to form something a little bit more slippery. But, as Morris himself said, that’s hardly proof of anything. And said video never shows Buchholz placing the substance on the ball, so there’s no obvious rule violation nor is there an obvious instance of Buchholz setting up a wet spitter. As far as applying any foreign substance to the ball, dry or wet, there’s a rosin bag on the mound, and players are allowed to use it on their “bare hand or hands” — although arms are never explicitly mentioned, the rule merely says the rosin cannot be placed on the glove or the uniform, neither of which Buchholz obviously did. Nothing in the video shows him rubbing the foreign substance directly on the ball.

Getting to see spitball finger pointing again gives us a little slice of that old time family baseball of the 1950s and 1960s, and that’s always fun. But unless an umpire actually comes to the mound and finds an illegal substance on Clay Buchholz’s person or on the ball, this accusation, like those hurled at Lew Burdette and his contemporaries, isn’t going anywhere.



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Synovia
Guest
Synovia
3 years 4 months ago

The whole thing is just Morris being a poor loser.

Over the course of about 3 sentences he says something along the lines of “every pitcher in MLB is using some sort of foreign substance on the ball” and then talks about how Buchholz doing it is some kind of travesty.

If everyone is doing it, why is it a big dead if Buchholz does?

He’s just upset that they’ve been talking about the Blue Jays and the pennant all winter, and it turns out, the Blue Jays are probably the same old terrible Blue Jays.

Peanut
Guest
Peanut
3 years 4 months ago

Morris is anything but a loser, he’s the winningest pitcher of the 80s, a 4-time World Series champion, and 2-time World Series MVP, highlighted by one of the best post-season pitching performances in baseball history in the 1991 World Series Game 7.

He’s the color commentator for Jays games, and he was providing color commentary. Someone showed him some video, and he commented on it.

It’s his job, moron. No one said he was good at it.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

It’s not his job to make psychotic baseless accusations. Plenty of other announcing teams manage to get through a baseball game without making extremely tenuous and very serious accusations.

Winner or loser, the guy overstepped his bounds by a lot.

enhanced performance
Guest
enhanced performance
3 years 4 months ago

Morris did not over step his job description. He responsibly commented and even indicated he did not have proof of said offense.

Morris also correctly commented that he knows a thing or two about the culture of MLB and thus he is not just another talking head. Morris is an super experienced, former pitcher who would be the equivalent of a retired general or retired US Senator commenting on a current war or congressional act. The point is that he absolutely must be taken seriously because he is an insider.

If I am Clay Buchholz this is really serious business precisely because of the accuser’s standing in the profession I make my living from.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

@enhanced performance,

So if Michael Kay or Jerry Remy were to come on the air one night and start outright accusing Matt Moore of juicing because of the massive improvement he’s shown this year, that wouldn’t be overstepping their bounds?

Making an accusation like this in the position those two have is bordering on slander.

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 4 months ago

The accusations aren’t baseless.

The way he went about it wasn’t the best, but Buchholz is clearly doing something usual.

Billy
Guest
Billy
3 years 4 months ago

How are his accusations “psychotic” and “baseless” exactly? Someone showed him a video (base) and he said ‘Well, he’s throwing a spitter. Cause that’s what it is.’ Then said “I can’t prove anything. I can’t prove anything.”

These sound like the psychotic ramblings of a homer color commentator to you?

Billy
Guest
Billy
3 years 4 months ago

@Jonathon: Jack Morris didn’t go looking for this stuff. He didn’t single out a player doing excellent and attack. The article states he was approached after the game (not on the air) and asked him what he thought about the footage. He made his opinion based on his knowledge (extensive knowledge at that) of baseball and it’s rules and then even stated he couldn’t prove anything which is a sign from him that it was his opinion and he’d keep it that way. Color commentators aren’t overstepping their bounds answering a question someone asks them.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

@Billy

He was approached by Rogers camera guys, not the media. He then took that info and ran and made a big stink in the media about it.

Really, a lot of your responses read like you maybe read about half of the ESPN article on it and called it a day.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 4 months ago

@ Billy,

To say that Morris was just commenting on something someone else brought him is a little disingenuous. His claim that “he can’t prove anything” doesn’t release him from the wholly irresponsible statement that Buchholz was throwing a spitter. He doesn’t know that. A responsible comment would’ve pointed out that rosin was on Buchholz’s arm and that, if placed on the ball, would violate the foreign substances rule.

That’s not what Morris said, however. He said, definitively, “he’s throwing a spitter” and then, to avoid any sort of responsibility for his statement said, “but I can’t prove it.” Now, when called on the carpet about his allegation, he can get out of it by saying “I said I couldn’t prove it.” Bullshit!

Since he can’t prove it and, in reality, has no basis for making the claim in the first place other than some rosin on Buchholz’s arm, he shouldn’t have said so certainly that he was throwing a spitter. Read the statement. There’s no doubt in his mind. There’s no qualification. He makes that allegation as if there’s no question about it and then cowardly he tries to shirk responsibility for the statement by saying that he “can’t prove it.”

No shit, he can’t prove it. Then he shouldn’t have made the allegation in the first place.

Synovia
Guest
Synovia
3 years 4 months ago

You can have won lots of games and still be a sore loser.

enhanced performance
Guest
enhanced performance
3 years 4 months ago

In response to Jonathan, I looked up Michael Kay and Jerry Remy. Jerry Remy was a former major league second baseman who according to wikipedia Bill James ranked as the 100th best second baseman of all time in 2001. That is high praise and puts him firmly in the MLB player’s community.
Jack Morris is a pitcher and he is calling out a pitcher so that is a little more on topic. In addition Jack Morris is a decorated veteran (to use an unfortunate military analogy as I did before)making his comments even more noteworthy.
In terms of Michael Kay, I am at a lose on how to evaluate a theoretical complaint against Matt Moore coming from him. Michael Kay is on the radio locally in my town and I find his brand of radio everything that makes me so eager to read this website and stop listening to ESPN radio.

AlexDaCentaur13
Guest
AlexDaCentaur13
3 years 4 months ago

My entire point is that Morris’ pitching credentials are secondary to the issue that he is CURRENTLY a color commentary guy (Like Remy and Kay) who is throwing out accusations without a hint of evidence. That’s irresponsible and absolutely reeks of sour grapes. If Rogers Communications wants to save face, they should be working him over for a public apology.

KyleL
Guest
KyleL
3 years 4 months ago

@enhanced performance

Dennis Eckersley said flat out that Morris was off base and there’s no possibility that Buchholz was throwing a spitter, and that Morris doesn’t know what he’s talking about (and a lot of other entertaining things). Eckersley is a first ballot hall of famer, so based on your idea that the person commenting’s credentials matter, he’s the most qualified person to comment on the issue. So it must be a non-issue because Eck said so, right?

Bryan
Guest
3 years 4 months ago

I’m guessing the fourth World Series you’re counting is in ’93, when he was on Toronto’s regular season roster but didn’t pitch in October. Are you assuming he would’ve been MVP of that series if he’d played in it?

RMD
Guest
RMD
3 years 4 months ago

derp?

ben
Member
ben
3 years 4 months ago

He also only won 1 WS MVP, but semantics right?

BubbaNoTrubba
Guest
BubbaNoTrubba
3 years 4 months ago

Jack Morris makes an honest observation and now he’s a poor loser?

Have you even bothered to view the footage?

It’s clear as a day if you view footage of Buchholz pitching that he’s got some glancy stuff on his arm, which he touches with two fingers before every pitch with a new ball.

Buchholz even admits to wetting down his hair with water, and intentionally moisting his fingers in it, which is actually not allowed.

Buchholz is a cheat, I’m glad someone called him on it, I expect his ERA to rise the next coming starts because he’s not gonna be able to do his spitball stuff anymore.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

Today on another episode of “How Can the Jays Organization Further Embarrass Itself?”

I’m sorry, but you know why Buchholz beat your team, Morris? Because they stink right now. Out loud.

Let’s play Devil’s Advocate and say you’re right, and not a crazy old man making excuses for a team that was overhyped beyond belief just like last year’s Angels and the 2011 Red Sox. Let’s say Buchholz WAS doctoring pitches and your team wins those two games. You’re still 12-17 and sitting in last place by two in the loss column.

Of course, that doesn’t explain the fact that this past start was actually one of Buchholz’s worse efforts this season (Three walks and only seven innings).

In the words of video gamers: QQ moar, Jack Morris.

Frank
Guest
Frank
3 years 4 months ago

“Let’s say Buchholz WAS doctoring pitches and your team wins those two games. You’re still 12-17 and sitting in last place by two in the loss column.”

Talk about missing the point…

Straw Man
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Straw Man
3 years 4 months ago

I just spent five minutes trying to understand what is going on with the sentence “Out Loud.” Still have no idea.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

The Blue Jays stink out loud right now.

Jay29
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Jay29
3 years 4 months ago

Do you hear with your nose? Or smell with your ears? I’m confused along with Straw Man.

John Northey
Guest
3 years 4 months ago

Uh, did any of you watch the game in question? I did. There was tons of stuff on his arm, much like sunscreen except it was a closed dome stadium thus no point in having any sunscreen on let alone so much that chunks were visible on the camera. Hayhurst has a solid article about it going into detail about the whole thing. It is clear he used stuff, it is clear he had it dripping off his arm. Does it help? Who knows? But to say he was just using rosin or that he wasn’t cheating because, well, I’m not sure…guess Boston players just are super honest or something.

Look, the Jays stink so far. No question. The Red Sox are hot. No question. But, asked separately, both a long term vet pitcher and a guy who tried everything under the sun to reach saw the same thing – both saw that Buchholz had tons of junk on his arm and used it, in other words used a ‘spitball’ (not a knuckleball as the writer kept saying in the article) and to say it was just sour grapes makes no sense.

KyleL
Guest
KyleL
3 years 4 months ago

Or the fact that you could see him applying rosin to his arm, and the fact that, especially in the early innings, the only thing his arm appeared to have on it was white powder, or the fact that not a single one of the pitches he threw acted at all like a spitter, or the fact that he was throwing a lot of curveballs – something you can’t do with a doctored ball.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 4 months ago

Pitchers put rosin on their arms all the time. I don’t know if it’s allowed or not since it’s not placed on their pitching hands but if it’s not, an umpire — there are 4 watching every game — should say something about it.

Applying rosin to one’s arm does not mean he is necessarily doctoring the ball.

Train
Guest
Train
3 years 4 months ago

I listened to that game on Toronto radio and the point the play caller was making was that Bucholz had very greasy hair, possibly loaded with gel and was repeatedly running his hands through it in between pitches. Who knows if he’s cheating, but it’s more than just the wet arm.

Wut
Guest
Wut
3 years 4 months ago

There’s plausible explanation for that. As Buccholz himself explained, he dumps water all over his hair between innings, and it’s definitely seen in games before. Plus, he wipes his hands on his jersey everytime he touches his hair or licks his fingers, and there’s sufficient proof of that if we look for it. Seriously, Buccholz has been doing what he’s always been doing, and now that he’s doing well these Jays broadcasters try to detract from it to excuse how poorly the Jays are doing. Don’t point fingers until you got proof.

Billy
Guest
Billy
3 years 4 months ago

Morris didn’t point fingers. He said he couldn’t prove it. 2 times in a row actually. He did exactly what you said he should do and you’re still made at him.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

“”I found out because the guys on the video camera showed it to me right after the game,” he said. “I didn’t see it during the game. They showed it to me and said, ‘What do you think of this?’ and I said, ‘Well, he’s throwing a spitter. Cause that’s what it is.””

“Funny thing, the way the game is played today. In our generation, every player, every coach would have seen it, the umpire would have gone out and made him change, made him stop and that changes everything. Or else they throw him out of the game. So what kind of bugs all of us is nothing is done here.”

“Morris said he took no issue with his spitball accusations being reported.

“I’ve got no problem with it,” he said, “because I know he was.””

How is that NOT pointing fingers? He is publicly accusing him of cheating.

B N
Guest
B N
3 years 4 months ago

While I’m not up at arms on either side, saying you can’t prove something does not make saying it okay. For example, what if I said, “I’m pretty sure that Billy is a terrorist and a neo-Nazi. Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t prove it, I can’t prove it…” Does that suddenly make it a lot better?

However, Morris said his opinion and other people said theirs. No big deal either way. But simply stating the allegation is finger pointing, even if you qualify it later.

Synovia
Guest
Synovia
3 years 4 months ago

Buccholz hair isn’t greasy, its wet. He basically dumps a bucket of water over his head between innings to cool down. He’s a bit strange.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

It’s not exclusive to Buchholz either, Aceves is known for doing that. A lot of people assumed it was sweat (Like, an insane amount of sweat), but then it came out that he does that.

Kevin
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Kevin
3 years 4 months ago

maybe that’s a new thing, cause i dont remember him ever looking like that before last night. granted i dont watch all of his starts.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

That’s probably because the long hair is a relatively new thing. He managed to pitch just fine in 2010/2011 and throughout his minor league career before said hair.

KyleL
Guest
KyleL
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t know which team you’re a fan of, so I don’t know how many of his starts you’ve seen, but he’s done it all season (I don’t remember if he did it in past seasons or not, but he definitely has in every start this year).

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 4 months ago

How would water make for a better spitball than sweat would anyway? I doubt it would even matter. The notion that he’s wetting his hair so that he can doctor the ball is absurd. If he just wanted to doctor the ball, he could just use the sweat…which is actually what the rosin is intended to dry, by the way. This is why umpires allow pitchers to put rosin on their hands and arms during the game.

Before people go about making outlandish comments like this, someone needs to put rosin — or rosin mixed with sweat, or rosin mixed with hair grease to pacify Jack Morris’ fan club — on a ball and test to see if it moves differently from balls w/o those sorts of applications.

Rosin is a drying agent, not typically conducive to, you know, throwing a “spitball.”

Judy
Guest
Judy
3 years 4 months ago

You would think the kind of movement created by doctoring the ball would be noticeable from pitch f/x.

Greg
Guest
Greg
3 years 4 months ago

And moreover, you’d think doing something to the ball that makes it move more unpredictably would make him have more trouble locating his pitches, not less. I think that’s the most ridiculous part of the whole argument.

Ben
Guest
Ben
3 years 4 months ago

One of the former pitcher analysts on MLB Tonight was openly talking about having rosin on the forearm of his non-throwing hand the other day. The topic came up because Harold Reynolds noticed a pitcher was wiping his hand on his pants a lot.
At the time I figured that wasn’t illegal, because he wouldn’t have mentioned it on a televised broadcast otherwise. Apparently I was wrong.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

It’s not illegal, actually, which is a big part of why this whole thing is nuts. Farrell’s come right out and said it’s a mix of rosin, sweat and water.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 4 months ago

not to mention the fact that multiple umpires watch many pitchers do this every single night and none are ever even told NOT to do it, much less suspended for it.

Jose Bautista
Guest
Jose Bautista
3 years 4 months ago

We have definite proof Buchholz is cheating. Our sign-stealer in the bleachers has it on video.

Menthol
Member
Member
Menthol
3 years 4 months ago

Zing!

Bill Belichick
Guest
Bill Belichick
3 years 4 months ago

I think Jose sometimes says too much.

AlexDaCentaur13
Guest
AlexDaCentaur13
3 years 4 months ago

I GOT IT!

MDL
Member
MDL
3 years 4 months ago

Of course you mean “It is what it is.”

Jaack
Guest
Jaack
3 years 4 months ago

I found it quite funny that Jack Moore wrote an article on Jack Morris.

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 4 months ago

Cheating in this way is hallowed and acceptable and won’t keep you out of the HoF, cheating in this other way is an affront to the game and warrants lifetime suspensions!!

olethros
Guest
olethros
3 years 4 months ago

Why the repeated references to knucklers?

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 4 months ago

Yeah, I saw that too… maybe some kind of “pitch autocorrect” changing from spitter to knuckler? It was weird.

Steven
Guest
Steven
3 years 4 months ago

When it says knuckleball is it supposed to say spitball?

James
Guest
James
3 years 4 months ago

The boy who cried spitball.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan
3 years 4 months ago

Jack Morris likely has career aspirations that do not include the Toronto Blue Jays, and in an effort to get some national recognition, he decided to call out the best team in baseball. This will all be forgotten by next week, and so will he.

thirteenthirteen
Guest
thirteenthirteen
3 years 4 months ago

Jack Morris already has national recognition, since every year at HoF voting time, the baseball media argues over whether or not he deserves induction.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 4 months ago

Jack Morris won’t be forgotten next week, as all the old-schoolers are going to remind us yet again how “clutch” he is as soon as it’s Hall-of-Fame ballot time.

Grynch
Member
Grynch
3 years 4 months ago

Maybe Jack Morris is compulsively bitter about not being in the HOF while an admitted cheater like Gaylord Perry got in. Now he sees spitters everywhere and can’t help himself.

Ian
Guest
Ian
3 years 4 months ago

I love stories like this. The year after Morris left the Twins to pitch for Toronto, the Twins beat Tor in an extra inning game but Morris was pretty good. Pitched the first 9. Twins couldn’t make good contact all game and after the game, some players (Knobluach) suggested that Morris’ mustache was a bit redder than usual, implying some foreign substance was being used.

Greg
Guest
Greg
3 years 4 months ago

Let’s not forget that Hayhurst pretty much accuses the entire 2008 Padres bullpen of doctoring the ball, for grip, with rosin or rosin-based mixes. As the rookie, he says, he was responsible for lugging around the ingredients and remembering every veteran’s favorite recipe.

Greg
Guest
Greg
3 years 4 months ago

I probably should have mentioned this was in his second book, Out Of My League.

Johnhavok
Guest
Johnhavok
3 years 4 months ago

A lot of people making idiotic assumptions about Morris’ motivations for saying it was a spitball. He was showed video, asked his opinion, he said it was a spitball.

He didn’t whine and carry on about how Bucholz was a cheater and that’s why he beat the Jays, he simply offered his opinion on video that he was shown.

He further commented that it’s part of the game and has been for the past 100 years. It sounded like he really had no problem with it in any way, other than him stating that based on the video he was shown, it looked like Bucky was throwing a spitball.

Aside from all this garbage about nothing, why was it okay for the Yankees to go on and on and on last year about “the man in white” with absolutley nothing but idle speculation and yet this is somehow spun into Rogers making excuses for it’s team?

People need to get a life. I know it’s the cool thing to do to pile on only non-American team in MLB that a huge chunk of the baseball media picked pre-season as a playoff contender, only to watch them fail hopelessly, but this spitball incident is so overblown it’s ridiculous.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

Read more, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Morris has been crying foul to anyone who’ll listen, going so far to harass Ross, Saltalamacchia and Farrell about it.

He’s coming off like one of those false flag conspiracy dolts who concludes that barring anyone being able to 100% prove their innocence, they’re guilty of whatever wacko accusation he wants to throw out there.

Now, I don’t have any proof or anything, but it sounds like Morris is a drug addict. I mean, look at the evidence: paranoia, making a scene, incoherent rambling about rodeos. The evidence is there for anyone who cares to see it.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
3 years 4 months ago

harrassment? yea thats just a little overly dramatic

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

Per ESPN, straight out of Morris’ mouth:

“I went up to Salty and I told him,” Morris said. “He said, ‘It’s dry in Boston, and I’ve seen him put water all over his pants.’ I said, ‘Salty this isn’t my first [expletive] rodeo.’ He didn’t know what to say to that, so we ended the conversation right there.”

To harass is to annoy, pester, bother. Yeah, by definition, he’s harassing Red Sox personnel over this. Would you have preferred “harangue?”

Demiurge
Member
Demiurge
3 years 4 months ago

Not to mention the same booth accused Tazawa of doctoring the ball in the following night’s matchup, simply because Tazawa was feeling under his wrist between pitches.

Then that gave them an excuse to rehash the whole episode over Buchholz. It’s television. Morris is Geraldo Rivera.

Billy
Guest
Billy
3 years 4 months ago

Jonathon: you appear to be “annoying”, “pestering” and “bothering” people on this thread repeatedly, would you say you are harassing us?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

Could be?

tommy
Guest
tommy
3 years 4 months ago

no billy, Jonathan is trying to get the full story across, i think thats pretty clear to anyone who can read.

Synovia
Guest
Synovia
3 years 4 months ago

“He was showed video, asked his opinion, he said it was a spitball.”

Except none of Buchholz’s pitches moves like a spitball, so Morris clearly doesn’t know his ass from his ankle.

chuckb
Guest
chuckb
3 years 4 months ago

Speaking of “getting a life” and “whining”, how about playing the “everybody’s picking on me b/c we’re not from America” card.

Morris said, definitively, “it’s a spitter.” He didn’t even say, as you stated, that “it looks like a spitter.” He didn’t couch it by saying that “it might be a spitter.” He said, without any qualification whatsoever, that Buchholz cheated. He deserves to be called out for that, just as if he’d have said that Buchholz was using PEDs. It’s an allegation of cheating with — as he even admitted — absolutely no proof whatsoever.

I don’t know what his motivation was, but he was wrong for doing it.

Chris K
Guest
Chris K
3 years 4 months ago

Great writeup, Jack. I had no idea the spitball had such a history.

By way of nit picking, and also picking nits, something cannot be “most unique”. It is either unique, or it isn’t.

Interesting stuff, though. Please keep the baseball history coming!

TheUnrepentantGunner
Guest
TheUnrepentantGunner
3 years 4 months ago

Of course, if the umps start watching him real close, he’ll just take a little jalapeno and put it up his nose to get it running, and if he needs to load up the ball he can just…

Deelron
Member
Deelron
3 years 4 months ago

Thanks for the Major League reference!

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
3 years 4 months ago

to all who think morris is just sticking up for the jays here, he may be incredibly annoying at times and a little full of himself, but he’s not much of a homer.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
3 years 4 months ago

on a slightly related note. is eckersley an insufferable dickhead or what? he seemed that way during his playing career too.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

He is. But insufferable begets insufferable. You make a spectacle of yourself in public like Morris and Hayhurst did, people are going to respond in kind.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
3 years 4 months ago

yes this is very true. it was the same from the jays side when it was the yankees grumbling about the “man in white” tipping off blue jay hitters from the outfield bleachers. i just thought eckersley trying to slam morris based on his hall of fame situation to be really low. not that i think jack should be in the hall.

Shlum
Guest
Shlum
3 years 4 months ago

Nice. Thank god Sullivan didn’t write this. It would have been three times as long with dozens of inane questions directed at no one.

dlk1100
Guest
dlk1100
3 years 4 months ago

i love sullivan’s stuff and this comment still rules.

taprat
Guest
taprat
3 years 4 months ago

I still don’t get how the spitball works. Does it create movement because of the added weight? Why would sticky / slick be relevant distinction then? Is it really enough movement to matter? If so, wouldn’t it show up in PFX? Or does it help pitchers throw their usual pitchers better in some way?

Shlum
Guest
Shlum
3 years 4 months ago

Basically what happens is, the pitcher spits on the ball, and as it approaches the batter, the batter realizes the ball has been spit upon and the batter does one of two things: (a) understands the spittle as a sign of disrespect and swings emotionally, thus inaccurately; or (b) is disgusted by the sight of spittle, and retreats fearfully from the baseball.

Phantom Stranger
Guest
Phantom Stranger
3 years 4 months ago

It adds a vicious amount of late movement to the pitch.

Synovia
Guest
Synovia
3 years 4 months ago

No, it doesn’t.

The spit/vaseline/whatever makes the ball have a higher coefficient of friction, which means it doesn’t spin as fast. Less backspin means it drops faster (over the entire distance).

Hitters think it has late movement because they initially pick it up as a fastball.

We know Buchholz doesn’t throw a spitter. We can see it on pitchFX.

Synovia
Guest
Synovia
3 years 4 months ago

And by coefficient of friction, I mean air resistance. It has less friction with respect to the pitcher’s hand.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

Yeah, Mr. White! Science!

BigNachos
Guest
BigNachos
3 years 4 months ago

I thought the spit was usually on the left or right side of the ball (relative to the normal backwards spin), which would increase drag on that side and cause the ball to move to that side–similar, in principle, to a wiffle ball.

Steve
Guest
Steve
3 years 4 months ago

That’s mostly correct. The ball comes out of the hand with less backspin because of the reduced friction between the fingers and the ball.

Since the ball spins more slowly than a regular fastball, the backspin generates less lift than it otherwise would. The fact that the ball has less lift is what causes it to drop faster (less lift to counteract the force of gravity) relative to a normal fastball.

Frank Grigas
Guest
Frank Grigas
3 years 4 months ago

Farrell is the reason for Buchholz’s improvement over last season and the Jay’s record so far this season is the reason for the propaganda coming out of Toronto.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

Nieves isn’t getting nearly enough credit. There have been points this season where it looks like the starter is losing it and he comes out for a mound visit and a double play happens.

Dude is magic.

KyleL
Guest
KyleL
3 years 4 months ago

See last night with Dempster for reference.

Definitely a magician.

Synovia
Guest
Synovia
3 years 4 months ago

I like Farrel and Nieves, but its probably more likely that Clay no longer suffering from a torn esophagous and a broken vertebrae have more to do with him returning to his 2010/2011 form than Farrel and Nieves.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

I’m going to call shenanigans. He was clearly doctoring pitches with the blood his stomach was filling with.

Bruce Sutter
Guest
Bruce Sutter
3 years 4 months ago

There is no “L” in “spitter”

Phantom Stranger
Guest
Phantom Stranger
3 years 4 months ago

People do realize that pitchers are trying to load the ball up with various substances all the time, right? There are entire bullpen staffs that couldn’t get by without foreign substances on their pitches. It’s one of the main reasons why relievers are so erratic in quality from year to year.

From my casual observations watching MLB, I don’t see starters using it as much unless it happens to be a very important game or their regular stuff is declining.

Bucco
Guest
CJ
Guest
CJ
3 years 4 months ago

Thank you. Indeed a much better article.
I saw the “coverage” of this on ESPN, and left completely baffled.. They showed the video of exactly what the SI article was referring to, and the 2 former players couldn’t dismiss it fast enough, fast enough to make you wonder if they actually saw the clip.. What was the point of the segment, if you are going to show something and dismiss it in nanoseconds? To make Karl Ravech look bad??

Shlum
Guest
Shlum
3 years 4 months ago

Karl Ravech, my dear boy, can never look bad.

YoYoMA
Guest
YoYoMA
3 years 4 months ago

K, so MLB tracks the movement of nearly every single pitch throw via pitch f/x. Plus umpires are changing out balls all the time. I think someone would have caught it if it were an epidemic. And that’s not even getting into why he’d be loading up pitches with an 8-run lead..

So yeah, ridiculous story.

YoYoMA
Guest
YoYoMA
3 years 4 months ago

PS great article though…

Corey
Guest
Corey
3 years 4 months ago

Thanks for the history lesson, very interesting!

I’ll admit I had the volume off when I saw ESPN talking about this last night, but what looked suspicious to me was the way in which he was repeatedly going to his arm, I guess my interpretation of it was that he had a pile of vasaline on his arm and he was repeatedly going to it with his fingers to wet the ball, but obviously nobody really has much knowledge of what was actually happening except Buchholz.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan
3 years 4 months ago

Multiple camera feeds have shown that he was wiping his fingers off on his jersey after going to his arm.

The whole thing is much ado about nothing.

Corey
Guest
Corey
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t know how you say they “show” that. This is all a matter of subjective interpretations of video, it may all be much ado about nothing, but video doesn’t “show” anything, ever, it only allows people to interpret it. Your interpretation is that he was wiping his fingers off on his jersey, I think it looked kind of suspicious, but not enough to say with any degree of certainty that he was spit-balling. Video evidence can never “show” anything in the abstract, it is nothing until we interpret it.

ed
Guest
ed
3 years 4 months ago

Words can’t actually “say” anything either. In the abstract, they are meaningless and subjective. Language is an abstraction. We can’t even really know for sure what our words mean.

joser
Guest
joser
3 years 4 months ago

Gaylord Perry has said he used to take care to visibly wipe his fingers off on his jersey or pants to deflect suspicion; in fact (as he later admitted) he was just passing his fingers over the fabric without touching it to make it look like was wiping off his fingers.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

Uhm… its Rosin – and its used to DRY, not wet, his hands.

But lets instead just take this entire absurdity to a more logical place – had Buchholz merely picked up the rosin bag to dry his hand between each pitch, would he similarly be called out as a cheater? That would be an idiotic accusation, correct?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
3 years 4 months ago

“I’ll admit I had the volume off when I saw ESPN talking about this last night”

That’s generally the best way to watch the WWL

Joey
Guest
Joey
3 years 4 months ago

Spitballs do not cause hitters to take strikes. Most of Buchholz success can be be attributed to the increase in called strikes. Just look at pitch f/x.

Melky Cabrera
Guest
Melky Cabrera
3 years 4 months ago

Well, this is a nice respite.

scott ziegler
Guest
3 years 4 months ago

They clearly showed on mlb tonite that bucholz has something on his left arm it is all shiney and the right one is not, several game shots from this year were used, there is something there. he probably used rosin to try and limit how shiney his arm is.

James
Guest
James
3 years 4 months ago

He arlctually puts cocaine on his arm, puts some on his fingers, and snorts some before every pitched. Called the Daryl Strawberry effect.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
3 years 4 months ago

As the author of this article points out, Clay Buchholz is pitching better this year because his command has MEASUREABLY improved. He is throwing both more and better strikes (see yesterday’s post).

This should be all the explanation anyone needs. There is no justfication or defense for half-baked accusations at this point.

Hank
Guest
Hank
3 years 4 months ago

Tazawa was doing the same damn thing… 2 fingers to the same part of his arm. Two teammates just happen to be doing the same thing, when they haven’t done it in previous years? (hell Buchholz wasn’t even doing it in spring training, when it was quite warm at games.

The “sweaty” thing would be almost believable if his two arms didn’t seem to “perspire” at different rates, and if he actually was “perspiring” in spring training games in FLA, when I hear it is warm and not all that dry out.

ed
Guest
ed
3 years 4 months ago

Of course. Everyone “knows” that Buchholz never even “perspired” in a “game” until “this year”.

joser
Guest
joser
3 years 4 months ago

A lot of folks here really need to read the Cheater’s Guide to Baseball — there’s a whole chapter on the various ways spitballers kept spitballing well after it had been prohibited, and how it helped them get batters out…sometimes even when they weren’t doing it.

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

Many of these comments presume to know Buchholz was or wasn’t doctoring the ball (or they just rage at Jack Morris), but none of them seem to be asking a few important questions:

1. Why was he wiping his fingers on his wet hair anyway, especially if he was trying to get a better grip on the ball?
2. Why have rosin on your forearm when you could just use the rosin bag? There appears to be as to how many times a pitcher can use the rosin bag.
3. How can you throw a 96-mph cutter? Buchholz’ average cutter velocity this season is 89.5. (The pitch I am referring to is also referred to in David Schoenfield’s blog post, linked below.)
4. A few folks have mentioned PITCHf/x, but there’s been no mention of a 0.8-in. increase in the horizontal break of his fastball on Wednesday compared to this 2013 average, which
. Why the drastic increase in movement?
5. I watched a few innings from two games Buchholz pitched from 2012: June 7 vs. the Orioles and Sept. 9 vs. the Jays. He had wet (slightly shorter) hair then, but didn’t go to his hair or his forearm in either. He went to his tongue then the seat of his pants; that’s it. Small sample size, I know, but why is he now going to his hair and forearm?
6. Does the mixture of the rosin with sweat and the natural oils in hair produce a similar effect as an illegal substance such as lubricant?
7. I’ve never seen a pitcher apply rosin after every pitch. What effect does this have on grip and potentially velocity and movement? If he wasn’t technically cheating, was Buchholz rather gaining an advantage via frequency of rosin application that apparently few other pitchers have tried?

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

Oops. Sorry about all the hyperlinked text. I don’t know why it hyperlinked so much text, but the links still seem to work.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

1 – His hair is long, and drenched between innings. Its quite possible he got it a bit too wet and it felt as though moisture was running down his forehead; something which would lead to one wiping their hair often

2 – its not against the rules, so why not?

3 – You misquoted his average cutter speed, its actually 87.5 – the slowest of his career. If he did happen to throw a 96mph Cutter, as you claim, it is obviously a one-time fluke occurrence considering the small pitch total on the young season and low average velocity the pitch is being clocked at. Repeated 95+ Cutters over such a small amount of pitches wouldn’t lead to his lowest average speed, afterall…

4 – likely just the microscopic amount of data to this point in the season. As the season progresses, he throws many more pitches and his arm begins to tire, this will probably erase itself for the most part.

5 – see #1

6 – rosin dries moisture. When your hands are still damp from touching your hair, rosin will dry it faster then touching fabric. If moisture, bodily oils and rosin create lubricants though… well, every pitcher to ever touch a rosin bag threw the same exact pitch then

7 – thousands and thousands of pitchers have come before him, each had a rosin bag available to them on the back of the mound. Clay magically figuring out a game-altering advantage that thousands and thousands of pitchers were apparently too stupid to notice despite it being within a couple feet of them at all times… well, seems unlikely, doesn’t it?

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

1. Trader, your explanation doesn’t apply to Buchholz. It was not about any hair or water on his forehead. His hat would have prevented that. He was touching the hair at the back of his head, near his neck. Why touch wet hair? That seems to be at cross-purposes with going to rosin. I mean, it could just be a new routine, without a practical reason, that he’s picked up. Buchholz said it had to do with softening the new balls thrown to him by the ump (link), but was he only doing it after he got a new ball?

2. Yes, it’s not against the rules. My question was, why not just use the rosin bag and not the forearm? The most plausible answer seems to be convenience, not having to bend down to use it after each pitch.

3. Correct. I think I accidentally used his career average cutter speed. What I’m seeing now on Fangraphs is 87.8.

4. But if tiring over the course of the season were the explanation for the additional 0.8-in. break, then you’d think it would have been even more pronounced in earlier games. Or do you think the break was due to random chance or PITCHf/x calibration?

6. Yes, but Buchholz appears to be one of the few this season to go to rosin after every pitch (if it was only rosin), which, while an approved substance, could simply represent tapping into a unique advantage. I can see other power pitchers experimenting with similar routines now.

7. I don’t know why other pitchers (or at least none I have seen recently) don’t do the rosin-on-their-forearm thing. Do you know of any? Either Buchholz was unique in his use of rosin for a strategic advantage, or he was using some other substance on his arm.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

1 – Have long hair? I do, and I can tell you, a hat does nothing to stop it from being a constant distraction when wet.

2 – who cares? Its easier, so why not? Would help his rhythm not having to. But on the flip side, are we even 100% sure the opposite isnt true though? I mean, is it possible the rosin built up because he kept wiping rosin off on his arm instead of the claim he was picking it up from there? The claim is it got heavier as the game went on, right…

And here is an explanation of what Rosin actually is and how it acts:
http://youtu.be/5WlYBsqL9Lw
…of note, the 2:40 portion in which Durham talks about how difficult it is to wash off, how sticky it can become on you, and how it can cause itchiness – all of which would explain the constant wiping of his arm, the heavier buildup over the course of the game, and even the touching of the back of his neck if in fact he accidentally got some buildup back there.

4 – I dont think it matters, I think you are trying too hard to find things which you think might be proof because actual evidence isnt there. The break isnt that big of a variance, and I just think over time it will probably even out, as almost everything does in baseball. Also, I would point to this comment from Jeremy on the link you provided:

“All info per Brooks Baseball:

4 seam Vert Movement in 2012: 10.18.
4 seam Vert Movement on Wed: 9.68.
4 seam Hor Movement in 2012: -4.25.
4 seam Hor Movement on Wed: -4.36.

2 seam Vert Movement in 2012: 7.95.
2 seam Vert Movement on Wed: 6.63.
2 seam Hor Movement in 2012: -6.00.
2 seam Hor Movement on Wed: -7.58.

** Please note, for his career, his 2 seam Hor Movement averaged -7.21 **.

Changeup V Mvmt in 2012: 5.78.
Changeup V Mvmt on Wed: 4.86.
Changeup H Mvmt in 2012: -1.36.
Changeup H Mvmt on Wed: -1.59.

Curve V Mvmt in 2012: -6.78.
Curve V Mvmt on Wed: -7.97.
Curve H Mvmt in 2012: 9.82.
Curve H Mvmt on Wed: 9.01.

Cutter V Mvmt in 2012: 7.23.
Cutter V Mvmt on Wed: 5.11.
Cutter H Mvmt in 2012: 1.69.
Cutter H Mvmt on Wed: 1.87.”

…that alone destroys any “hes throwing a spitter” claim, imo

6 & 7 – what your implying is akin to saying he discovered a new way to scratch his nose that no one who has ever scratched their nose prior has ever thought of or attempted. Thousands and thousands of pitchers, quite a few doing everything they can to try to cheat, but no one ever thought of just using the rosin bag more often and/or in combination with sweat or hair moisture? Come on…

What we know is 1) his movement wasnt improved at all. 2) his control is up 3) spitter results were not seen in hitters reactions

…really, there is just no evidence of anything anywhere, only wild speculation and name calling based off purely nonsensical assumptions considering the opposite results of the claim were actually achieved.

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

@Trader,

1. If wet hair is a “constant distraction” for Buchholz, why would he have a routine of wetting it each inning? If it isn’t, why would he wipe his fingers on it before each pitch? If he needs rosin for a better grip, why would he apparently counteract that by wetting his fingers?

2. I care, not because I’m convinced he was cheating (I’m not), just that I’ve never seen quite that sequence of touching mouth, pants, hair, and forearm, along with video screen captures showing his left arm looking slicker than usual. There is a tweeted photo cited in one of the articles I read (can’t find it now) of Buchholz applying the rosin bag directly to his arm. So it’s likely not like how you speculate.

Schoenfield’s blog piece explains how Whitey Ford doctored the ball with a combination of rosin, turpentine, and baby oil. So even though it is a legal substance, an interesting question is how it might be combined with sweat, water, or another substance that could possibly have been on his left arm to gain a pitch movement advantage.

4. I’m just asking questions, since what he did at least mimics plausible doctoring behavior. I don’t think the Brooks Baseball data that commenter offered is inconsistent with the idea that Buchholz’s two-seam horizontal break was greater on Wed. than last year’s average.

“What we know is 1) his movement wasnt improved at all.”

Based on the above, that statement is false, at least for the two-seamer. Also, keep in mind the way-above-average velocity of that cutter: 96 mph to Bautista. His season average is 92.5.

“his control is up ”

This doesn’t appear to be true either. His zone% is below his career average and only very slightly better than the last few years. His BB/9 is higher this year than last year.

” spitter results were not seen in hitters reactions”

What does this even mean? That you have done psychological analysis of the Jays hitters’ facial expressions and determined that they were not suspecting a spitball or foreign substance?

“really, there is just no evidence of anything anywhere,”

This sounds overly defensive. There is video evidence that some substance was on Buchholz’s arm and that he was wiping his fingers on it frequently. It certainly could be only rosin, but it could be rosin and something else, too.

” purely nonsensical assumptions considering the opposite results of the claim were actually achieved.”

I’m not sure how you can conclude this. To state that Buchholz’s pitches moved differently than how they should have moved if Morris and Hayhurst’s hypotheses are true implies that you know the latter. How can you be sure you know what would happen to a two-seam fastball or cutter enhanced with a combination of rosin, sweat, water, or perhaps some other substance?

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

* Correction: way-above-average velocity of that two-seamer, not cutter.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

1 – because he gets hot

2 – okay, so youre one of the microscopic few who are curious about something that really doesnt matter in the big picture

3 – his career average is 7.21, the other night it was 7.58… yeah, sorry, but there is just nothing to see here

4 – what he did was apply rosin. You claim there are even pictures of him applying the rosin bag to his arm. I’m sorry, but this entire conversation is just a nonsensical fishing expedition because a color-commentary guy with an obvious bias against people he sees as cheaters decided to make a stink out of something everyone actually involved in the game dismissed as nothing. Because really, if he were so blatantly cheating why didnt the Jays even ask to have the substance checked? Obviously they knew it was nothing, yet now we have to talk endlessly about this conspiracy theory being pushed by a color guy?

5 – yes, the data shows his movement was not up. Also, one pitch you choose to cherry-pick that is not exactly the same as every other pitch just shows the same common sense everyone already knows; the same pitch thrown twice will not necessarily have the same results.

6 – see the countless articles out there describing how his control is up

7 – Spitters produce swing and misses because of their deceptive movement. Hitters watched Clays pitches though; the opposite of what should be expected if he was cheating in the manor described

8 – okay, there is evidence of rosin on his arm (which you claim you have seen undeniable prof of with your own eyes) and absolutely zero evidence it was anything else or that he cheated in anyway – is that phrased better for you?

9 – youre really chasing this rabbit down some odd holes, but its time to just give it up at this point as its way past the point of absurdity.

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

See, the difference between our views is this: I’m not sure he was cheating, but I’m not sure he wasn’t. Really, only the Red Sox know the truth. You’re somehow SURE that he wasn’t. Are you a Red Sox player?

We’ll see what happens in his next start.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

No, actually here’s the difference – I can see an odd conspiracy theory with no evidence to support it based off nothing more then a “wonder why he did that” moment some random guy with an axe to grind had, and I am able to dismiss it as such. You apparently are the type that thinks Bush probably flew planes into the World Trade Centers and the Holocaust likely never actually took place (because, honestly, there is much much, much more evidence that those things are true then there is to support Clay possibly cheating)

At the end of the day, all we should really need is the results to dismiss this particular nonsensical conspiracy theory – and the results show that he was exactly the same (to even worse) as he always is. See, here are said results on a game by game breakdown:

(Horizontal) http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=3543&position=P&type=12&gds=2010-04-11&gde=2013-05-01&season=

(Vertical) http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=3543&position=P&type=13&gds=2010-04-11&gde=2013-05-01&season=

…as you can so clearly see, he apparently went out of his way to very blatantly “cheat” in an effort to get the exact same to even worse movement on his pitches (especially his cutter, the pitch you seem to think is the tell-tell sign somehow…) – what a brilliant move by Clay that is; cheating to pitch worse to a team that couldn’t make contact with a dodgeball right now anyway…

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

Look at you. Now you’re invoking 9/11 and the Holocaust. Who is engaging in “wild speculation” now? Sorry, that’s offensive and just pathetic.

I can’t “clearly see” that nothing was abnormal. To me, the pitch movement and velocity data show mixed results in terms of whether or not they show something out of the ordinary.

One the one hand:

* The cutter hor. movement is shown to be way down.
* The curveball hor. movement is ~1.5-in. less than the previous 4 starts.
* The two-seam and four-seam hor. movement are 2nd-highest this season, but within a reasonable range.

On the other hand:

* Curveball had the greatest vertical drop by far this season.
* Highest curveball velocity since September 2010.
* Highest two-seam fastball velocity of the last 3+ seasons.
* Highest four-seam velocity since 2010.
* Highest cutter velocity this season.

We might add that calibration of different PITCHf/x systems may not make these results optimally comparable, but some of the data definitely do suggest that his 5/1/13 start was a bit of an outlier.

I’m not saying Buchholz hasn’t been a great pitcher this year. And if he was cheating, that probably wasn’t the difference between winning and losing. And yes, the Jays are playing quite terribly right now. But that doesn’t mean that we just let all pitchers off the hook when it comes to questions about ball doctoring. For the integrity of the game, pitchers need to be scrutinized every once in a while.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

…wow, just wow man…

so anyway, your new imaginary point to try anything to support this insane conspiracy (which apparently involves every player, coach, ump and almost every single announcer and former player being in on it seeing as all who have either said nothing during the game or came out since have all said there is nothing here outside those 2 or 3 loons that I will talk about more later…) is a possibility because the whole 12 Curves (the pitch he threw the least of, and would probably be least likely to doctor) averaged slightly more drop while otherwise his pitches all had less movement – and that’s it, that’s all you got here to try and prove something somewhere is probably somehow fishy because, well, I guess just because Jack Morris insists his movement was too good not to be a spitter and Jack saw he put rosin on his arm…

otherwise you only mention velocity, which is flat out meaningless since Toronto has their gun calibrated at least 1-2mph faster then the other parks. You can check the data on Tor pitchers yourself too and see that, despite the small single-game sample sizes, they still almost all see increased velocity of at least 1-2MPH (you know, what you see Clay seeing) on most all pitches when north of the border (its impossible to know exactly how much its off just yet since such few pitches have been thrown so far, but its blatantly off) – case in point:
http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=225&position=P&type=11&gds=&gde=&season=2013&sort=2,d
…or…
http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=9346&position=P&type=11&gds=&gde=&season=2013&sort=2,d

As far as scrutinizing for the “integrity of the game”… well you don’t have to worry about that seeing as the two loons who started this nonsensical conspiracy with no actual evidence what-so-ever anywhere to be found to support their attention-starved spouting have now gone on to specifically name Tazawa and Cliff Lee as cheaters too, as well as both nutcases basically claiming that every pitcher in the game actually, you know, cheats. Of course, JA Happ was going to his arm endlessly all night the flowing night – but he apparently isn’t someone who should be mentioned in their mind though for some odd reason; go figure huh… Oh, and Jack Morris is quick to describe how he was the one guy who apparently didnt cheat though. Hows that for integrity!!!

So how about other then the truly insane truther like nonsensical white-whale hunting being displayed so far, you instead either find something which could actually be considered a point or evidence in any way possible, or just give it a rest like the entire respected baseball community has done at this point?

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

@Trader,

Do you regret resorting to the very “wild speculation and name calling” you accused others of doing?

Your hyper-defensive, “nothing-to-see-here” comments are not helping your cause.

The velocity does still seem to be a bit of an outlier. His curve’s velocity was faster by 1.5 mph than even his curve on 6/1/2012, in Toronto. His four-seam was 1.0 mph than that start, too. And his two-seam was 2.7 mph faster than that start. So even controlling for stadium (unless they recalibrated the PITCHf/x before this season), it still seems like an outlier in terms of *some* velocity and movement data.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

Taking the whole 2 seconds to look at the games listed directly next to that 6/1/12 start, yes, looks like they recalibrated, doesn’t it? (not that it matters what so ever that his pitch speed from a year ago is slightly off from what it is now though; and that would be the case even if he werent suffering internal bleeding at the time.)

And no, I actually have no issue what so ever comparing your factless, illogical jumping around and reaching with thruthers who honestly at least have something somewhere to support their idiotic claims – unlike the evidence your fishing (or trolling, it seems more like, really) expedition has resulted in here…

Again, you have endlessly jumped around anywhere and everywhere trying to find even microscopic or illogical differences which you think you can hang this nonsense on, and what we still have is zero evidence what so ever that anything fishy is taking place. The actual numbers are basically identical to the rest of the season across the board, they are consistent with his career, players and coaches everywhere have come out and said this is nonsense and the two people which started this idiotic conversation based off lies about what Rosin actually is and selective finger-pointing they are throwing around everywhere are proving themselves to be some of the biggest, mudslinging-est nuts you can find…

So as I said before, either find something (and I mean anything) which could be even remotely considered evidence, or give it a rest. Because if it seems I have been dismissing you in the last couple posts, its because I have been – as either a troll, lunatic or idiot since you cant seem to provide anything at all yet are still here trying to argue. Give me facts or evidence when making odd accusations that defy the evidence we do have, or eventually you get dismissed as a troll who knows otherwise yet still wants to argue or a moron ignoring all facts and logic to hold onto conspiracies he merely desperately wants to be the case.

My case was closed a long time ago because all evidence disproves anything is going on, and all experts and witnesses have come to the same conclusion. You’re merely trying to open a case here, and you’re attempting to do so with really nothing at all other then a desperate hope that its the case, I guess…

Jefftown
Guest
Jefftown
3 years 4 months ago

OK, you win, buddy.

Trader
Guest
Trader
3 years 4 months ago

Oh, and just so you know, a 95-95mph Cutter isnt unheard – shoot, Rivera used to do it daily.

Tom Doherty
Guest
3 years 4 months ago

Hope you don’t mind that I cited this piece in my blog, Jack! Don’t worry, I provided a link and gave you credit. You can read it here:

http://thestealsports.blogspot.com/2013/05/buchholz-on-trial.html

Eric M. Van
Guest
3 years 4 months ago

John Wyatt, the closer on the 1967 Red Sox, threw a “wasaleen ball.”

BTW, Jerry Remy saw the footage that was being shown on Toronto TV, and they had edited it to exclude Buchholz wiping off after going to his arm before each pitch. That’s presumably what was shown Morris.

The pitch that David Schoenfield was blogging about was a 96 mph two-seamer with an insane 250 degree spin axis (225 is typical) and hence sick armside run, that he backdoored to Jose Bautista. You can’t do that with a foreign substance, AFAIK.

Nick
Guest
Nick
3 years 4 months ago

I don’t think you know what backdoor means.

David Ross
Guest
David Ross
3 years 4 months ago

I’m glad someone is bringing light to this situation. It has to stop! It’s bad enough that Clay invites everyone to the movies but me, but now he spits on the ball so I have to touch it. So unsanitary!

Utah Dave
Guest
Utah Dave
3 years 4 months ago

I wish James McDonald would throw a spitball.

K
Guest
K
3 years 4 months ago

Buchholz is a classless piece of garbage. Dude is a thief, everyone knows about the laptop incident. I wouldn’t put anything past this guy

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