CINCINNATI, OH -- Cincinnati Reds reliever Todd Coffey was accosted by his teammates, stripped down, and thoroughly sprayed with a hose for approximately 15 minutes today, all over a misunderstanding.
During spring training and early in the season, several players missed playing time due to flu-like symptoms. When the insidious bug continued to pass from player to player, the Reds had cultures taken of the clubhouse to eliminate environmental factors as the cause. After several delays at the lab, the results came back last night and definitively showed that the clubhouse itself was not to blame.
“In this case, the cause appears to be simple enough: saliva,” explained Dr. Timothy Kremcheck, Reds Medical Director.
Not that the Reds are spitting on each other, but trace amounts of saliva end up in the air, on furniture, and on people when people get together and talk, cough, or sneeze.
“It's normal for small amount of other people's saliva to end up on you,” said Kremcheck, “but it can spread disease. That's why hand washing is so important, and that's what I told the guys.”
So how did a brief lecture on hand-washing get Todd Coffey sprayed down with a hose?
“I told them when anyone coughs in the clubhouse that thorough scrubbing of the cough-er as well as the cough-ee is important,” said Kremcheck. “They just misunderstood.”
Coffey is reported to be slightly embarrassed but squeaky clean. Despite some residual redness, Coffey is available to pitch immediately.