11.05.09

Why I'm Thrilled Baseball Is Over

The end of the World Series has Laura Bennett excited not about the New York Yankees’ victory, but about the return of Glee and nights with her husband—and no more watching grown men spitting in high definition.

I have so many reasons to be excited the World Series is over. Because the only interest I have in sports is David Beckham in his underwear. Because I get evenings with my husband back. Because Glee will return to Wednesday nights again. But mostly because I no longer have to watch spitting in excruciatingly high-definition detail.

I didn’t sign up for this. My husband got sports out of his system long before I met him. I married him because the only sport he watches is Formula One racing. You may not know of it—it only happens every other Sunday from March to September and it broadcasts at 3 a.m. from places like Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on obscure networks like Speed. That’s a sports-watching schedule I can live with. I have always held back a small snicker when my friends complain about the hours they are left alone with the kids on the weekends while their husbands play golf, or even worse, plant themselves on the couch and watch it on TV.

The extreme overuse of spitting seems to be just one part of obsessive-compulsive baseball behavior, like tipping hats, wiggling bats, swiping cleats, pounding gloves, and multiple crotch adjustments.

I’m not sure what drew my husband to the sports-watching sofa. I suspect it was the enthusiasm of our sons. If teenage boys are willing to spend time with their parents doing anything, it’s an opportunity not to be missed. So I tried to take my husband’s lead and join in, spend time with the boys, and bond over the spirit of competition. But I found myself unable to watch when I was confronted with an up close and personal look at one too many displays of upper respiratory expectoration—in other words, spitting in high definition.

Baseball players spit when they are up at bat. They spit when they step out of the batter’s box between pitches. They spit while on base. They spit in the outfield. They spit on the pitcher’s mound. Every time a camera zooms in for a close-up of a player, he is shown unapologetically ejecting saliva. Even the coaches spit. I am positive the germ count in the dugout alone could be classified as an occupational hazard.

I don’t recall ever seeing a tennis match where the players felt a constant need to project bodily fluids, or basketball, or football, for that matter. I’ve certainly never seen a Formula One driver spit on one of my rare trips out of bed at 3 a.m. The habit seems to be exclusive to baseball. I admit that the spitting is quite skilled, and if I weren’t so grossed out I would be impressed. These players are able to launch controlled streams great distances with amazing accuracy. But that makes it no less disturbing to watch. The extreme overuse of spitting seems to be just one part of obsessive-compulsive baseball behavior, like tipping hats, wiggling bats, swiping cleats, practice swings, pounding gloves, and multiple crotch adjustments.

I get that its part of the baseball culture, but with the onset of 720p progressive-scan mode direct digital broadcast, spitting has pretty much come to define too much information. I’m just glad it’s over so I can have my Glee back.

Laura Bennett was trained as an architect but has since established her career as a fashion designer by becoming a finalist on Season 3 of Bravo's Project Runway . Bennett lives amid complete chaos in New York City with her husband and too many children. She explains it all in her book, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday? A Mother’s Guide To Sanity In Stilettos.