If you’ve been watching the Major League Baseball playoffs, you may have noticed something kind of gross. Players have lots of saliva and they're not shy about expectorating. It seems that whenever the camera lingers on the dugout or focuses in on a player, that player is spitting seeds, water, or some other unidentified substance. It's an odd thing to witness, especially considering that athletes in other sports don't make a habit of hawking loogies. In fact, it’s become so prominent that Yahoo is seeing an increase in searches for "why do baseball players spit?" The answer? Here are some theories:

  • Theory One: It's Tradition. Several bloggers believe that the spitting may be a holdover from the days when players chewed tobacco. When chewing tobacco, players can't swallow the tobacco juice, so they spit it out. Tobacco has largely gone away, but the spitting remains.
  • Theory Two: Players are bored or nervous. There's a lot of downtime in an average baseball game. During an average game, the ball is actually in play for just a matter of minutes. Could it be that players spit as a way of calming their nerves?
  • Theory Three: Anything goes outdoors. The Oakland Tribune speculates that some players might spit because they're outdoors. If that's the case, why don't tennis players and football players spit more? The author goes on to write that maybe spitting is a way for players to show contempt for some of the rules of the game.
  • Theory Four: Baseball players spit because that’s what baseball players do. One blogger wonders if perhaps the spitting is something that's passed down from one generation of players to the next. Sort of like how football players pat each other on the rear. Nobody knows why they do it, they just do.