John Kruk weighs in on MLB’s proposed spitting ban
Major League Baseball sent a 67-page health and safety proposal to players over the weekend as part of the league’s ongoing initiative to start the season, and among the new safety protocols spelled out in the document to increase player safety in the age of the coronavirus pandemic is a ban on spitting.
Former big leaguer and current ESPN analyst John Kruk recently weighed in on the spitting ban, and the Philadelphia Phillies legend is skeptical about players being able to follow the policy if instituted.
There are of course a multitude of new protocols related to day-to-day operations laid out in the document — including the ending of the traditional pregame exchange of lineup cards and an end to players tossing the baseball around following outs — but the proposed spitting ban really inspired Kruk’s interest.
Spitting obviously is a hallmark of typical player routines and practices and is a component of baseball tradition, albeit an unsanitary one. From expelling sunflower seeds, bubble gum juice — and at one time chewing tobacco juice — from their mouths to no reason at all, spitting will be an incredibly hard habit to break for ballplayers.
Kruk doesn’t believe he’d be able to put the kibosh on his spitting.
“Hell, no,” he said over the phone Tuesday, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I couldn’t do it.
“… It’s natural to all of us. Take a pitch, spit. Rub up a ball with spit. Spit in your glove. It’s what ballplayers do. I don’t know how you can concentrate totally on the game if in the back of your mind you’re thinking, ‘Don’t spit. Don’t spit.'”
It merits noting that the “operation guidelines” submitted to the Players Association must be approved by players before being implemented in the event the 2020 season is held. What’s more, there are not any real punishments laid out should players violate any of the proposed protocols.
All that being said, if the players do end up accepting the operation guidelines as laid out, odds are the spitting ban will be one of the most difficult aspects of the proposal to follow.