In the past few days I've attended two rounds of Major League Baseball Spring Training. My daughter and I visited the City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Florida, as well as Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. The Red Sox and the Cincinnati Reds play at these fields, respectively. We watched some amazing pitching. We saw some impressive catching. And we witnessed more than a few peculiarities. Maybe you can clarify two of them for me.
1. Why do baseball players spit so frequently?
I must extend this question to include managers, coaches, and trainers, too. I understand that men (please, ladies, if you do this, too, I simply don't want to know) find the occasional need to expectorate...or simply spit a little....(ew) stuff. But what is it about these baseball people that makes them spit all the time? I get it with the ones who chew tobacco. No, they can't swallow the vile matter. They shouldn't in fact. But some of them simply chew bubble gum, and still they spit...some in 18-second intervals. Case in point: The Red Sox own Terry Francona. Have you ever watched that man in the dugout? During the 2007 World Series he spit so much onto the dugout floor it developed its own current and threatened to sweep Dice K away. Wouldn't that have been something? The Red Sox pay all this money for this little guy to come all the way from Japan, only to have him washed downstream in the wake of Terry Francona's spit! Just what do you make of that?
2. Why do baseball players adjust themselves so frequently?
I understand that the leg sometimes gets lifted high when they pitch (ever watched Bronson Arroyo? His leg goes WAY up high!). Running the bases may shake things up a bit, too. But please help me understand...why oh why does the guy just standing there, waiting for the ball to fly out to left field, have to adjust himself so often? What has he done to warrant such behavior? It was rumored during the 2004 baseball season that Johnny Damon was packing a spy-cam in his jock strap. The constant adjusting was in fact the zooming in of the lense on the Yankee's coach as he proffered a few words of advice.
I'll probably never understand either faux pas. I guess if we can't beat 'em we can join 'em though, right? So maybe tomorrow as I head back to Sarasota--for a meeting about a writing assignment this time--I'll spit a few times on the sidewalk before entering the building...then again on the way out for coffee later in the morning. I'll adjust my fake cup a time or two as I re-enter the conference room and immediately extend that same hand to shake that of my prospective client. I'll add a fart or a belch before taking my seat--which of course I'll pick for a second, and then adjust one final time upon being seated.
What are the odds I'll get the assignment? I'll strike out for sure. In the meantime the boys of baseball will go down in history for their famous plays, while people like me are left wondering...why do baseball players.......?