Picture this: You just drive off the lot in your brand-new 2010 convertible. You drive carefully to miss any puddles or roadkill on the road. Looks like rain, so you put the top up. Some idiot slams on his brakes in front of you, so you do the same and your capless Diet Coke tips over. You shout a profanity and your gum flies out of your mouth and sticks to the floor mat. In your rage, you lose sight of one of those puddles, drive through it and splash dirty water onto your car.
Your car isn't new anymore. You're a drive-thru stop away from trashing the inside.
A group of well-meaning Minnesotans concerned about the upkeep and appearance of the new Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, share your pain. Members of the group - numbering 73 so far - have each signed a petition to get Twins players, its manager and all its coaches to stop the "repulsive behavior" known as spitting.
Yes, it's a petition - a formal petition to prohibit spitting at Target Field. The group no longer wants to see players, especially while televised during a game, practice the art of saliva slinging. Jim Pohlad, principal owner of the Twins, Bill Smith, the team's general manager, and David St. Peter, president of the team, all have copies.
I wonder if they laughed as hard as I did when they read it.
"The recent concern about H1N1 highlights the fact that spitting ranks with careless coughing and sneezing in spreading disease, especially flu and colds," said the Rev. Ken Irrgang, co-chairperson of the group along with Katherine Kraft, who says spitting appears to be done more by baseball players than by other athletes.
No hard evidence was provided by either Irrgang's declaration that spitting is akin to coughing and sneezing; nor were there any statistics provided to back up Kraft's assertion that baseball players spit more than any other athletes. But she's probably right.
"We hardly ever see spitting by volleyball, basketball, tennis and even football and soccer players," Kraft says.
Well, the first two sports speak for themselves. Rarely do we see a volleyball or basketball player spit during a game. They play inside. That just wouldn't be cool. As for football and soccer players, football players use mouthguards and watching soccer on TV is like looking down on traffic from a skyscraper - everything on the field is pretty small. Hard to tell how much soccer players spit, but I'm pretty sure they've been known to from time to time.
Tennis players? Is spitting even allowed in tennis?
The fact is, baseball players spit, whether they use chewing tobacco or not. It's just what they do. They spit when they chew, they spit after they blow a bubble gum bubble, they spit while they crack seeds between their teeth. They spit between blinking.
They're crotch-adjusting spitters. All of them. It's just part of America's pastime. They don't even care if someone inadvertently spits on them; chew stains - theirs or someone else's - come with the territory.
Calling on Twins players to stop spitting is a ridiculous request made by people in dire need of something to do. Sure, it would be nice to keep Target Field as pristine as possible, but face it, it's going to be home to thousands of grown men playing baseball all spring and summer, starting today when the Gophers play Louisiana Tech (yes, college players spit, too). These guys will spit, blow snot out their noses (you know, farmer style) and might just relieve themselves in a hallway behind the dugout with no urinal in sight every now and then. Grown men from opposing teams are going to treat Target Field like it's a home, just not theirs.
The petition also makes references to littering, and mention is made of the Twins' dugout. The group's news release says that while littering may not be obvious to those in attendance at the games, it is "glaringly obvious" during televised games.
"TV cameras often focus on the players in the dugout that is full of littered soda cups, candy wrappers, sunflower seeds and other throw-aways," Irrgang said. "It makes a person wonder if anybody on the team ever heard of a waste-paper basket."
That's where they throw up, Father.