Despite a victory against the Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS yesterday, Angels fans are acting like Mel Gibson did in the film Conspiracy Theory. Today, a group of them are accusing closer Mariano Rivera of throwing a spitball to Erick Aybar during the 10th inning after Phil Hughes had left the winning run on second base with zero outs. The video featured here is supposed to serve as conclusive evidence that Rivera—hailed the greatest reliever of all time—is a disingenuous cheater (or at least he was cheating for one particular batter).
See that? See him look around and then spit on the ball? Oh no! Cutter explained!
Now, in all honesty, these are fairly serious allegations—-I mean, it’s Mariano Rivera—-and, following the outcry in Anaheim, the MLB has actually looked into the matter today, investigating video and still pictures from the supposed incident. Initially, according to Joel Sherman, they had stated that there was no conclusive evidence to affirm that Rivera had actually doctored the ball with his Hall of Fame spittle. However, upon further review of game media, the MLB has concluded that Rivera spit near the ball, not directly on it, as Angel fans would like to believe (the camera angle in the video is deceptive).
Furthermore, bringing logic into the argument, if Mariano Rivera’s cutter was really a spitball in this particular game (or for his entire career), in order to gain a true advantage, Rivera would have had to douse the ball with his saliva repeatedly—throughout the Aybar at-bat as well as subsequent others—which did not occur. Whereas the Girardi bullpen decision was a legitimate controversy, this appears to be of the fabricated variety. Basically, move on folks, there’s nothing to see here. Regardless of its legitimacy, we’ll probably hear Rivera address the issue later today.
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