Video that appeared to show New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera spitting on the ball made the Internet rounds Tuesday, with Major League Baseball saying there was no reason to consider any discipline.
A YouTube clip from FOX’s broadcast of Monday’s Game 3 of the American League championship series between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels showed Rivera staring at the ball and then spitting. Because of the camera angle, it appeared the saliva landed on the ball.
“You will see that the spit is never on the ball,” Rivera said Tuesday.
“If you guys locate (the spit), I’ll take you anywhere, anywhere, I mean anywhere in the world,” he said, joking with reporters. “But if you guys don’t locate (it), you’re going to have to take me.”
The clip quickly became fodder for sports talk shows and conspiracy theorists.
“I kind of laughed,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday. “He was accused of throwing a spitter. The one thing about a spitter is it consistently does not go one way like Mo’s ball consistently goes one way.”
Girardi, who caught Rivera for four years during his playing days, said it was a non-issue.
“I know for sure he never did anything,” the manager said.
MLB officials said they saw nothing definitive from still pictures of Rivera.
“Why would I get mad?” Rivera said. “I mean, I care about what the fans think about me, but if somebody has followed my career for years, that’s a lot of spit.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before Game 4 that he didn’t know anything about it.
“There are certainly some guys that might be suspect. Never Mariano with anything that I’ve heard or been part of,” he said. “And I’d be shocked if there was anything to that.”