The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today warned state and local health officials that hitting is highly contagious and could prove lethal for pitching staffs.
Most of the hitting infections have occurred near Houston, Anaheim, San Diego, Toronto and Philadelphia, as pitchers in those cities have been found to have the type of slow fastballs and hanging curveballs on which the virus thrives.
According to the CDC's analysis, the virus has been active for years but started to spread actively several weeks ago when Astros pitcher Philip Humber repeatedly grooved fastballs to Cleveland Indians hitters in a 19-6 loss. A highly contagious form of hitting has spread ever since.
The CDC fears worries it will be difficult to control.
"Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was spreading hitting to everyone in his first few starts of the season, but then it went into remission for a few weeks," said Phillies team physician Geoff Hartman. "We though it might be under control. Unfortunately, it flared up worse than ever Tuesday night, when he gave out eight runs on nine hits and three home runs in just three innings. I've never seen hitting become that contagious that fast. It's terrifying."
If hitting continues to spread to dangerous levels, CDC director Thomas Frieden warned that serious steps will have to be taken.
"I have informed President Obama that we may be just days away from having to drop a nuclear bomb on Minute Maid Park or hitting may spread to everyone in the country," he said. "We must contain it."