Should Yankees fans worry about Gerrit Cole and foreign substances?


According to a Wednesday memo, MLB seems intent on cracking down on something that seems almost impossible to stop and which no players (sans Trevor Bauer, who embraced the art himself last year) appear overly concerned about.

MLB does not create its policies based on Bauer and Rachel Luba’s rantings and ravings (as far as we know), but the league did declare legislating out the use of foreign substances as one of its main objectives in a sweeping statement this week.

Included in the plan? Compliance officers, random baseball inspections, and some sort of independent spin-rate monitor.

Not included? Any way to account for years of widely-accepted foreign substance reliance, or a way to reconcile the numbers piled up by pitchers who plainly employed the sticky stuff.

Pitchers like … well, Bauer in 2020, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

More pertinently, though, it’s always been an open secret that the Houston Astros’ pitcher reform school includes a hefty dose of Vitamin Sludge, and Gerrit Cole was among the team’s star pupils.

Should Yankees fans be concerned about a Gerrit Cole suspension?

Cynically, a high-profile suspension of someone like Cole or Bauer for doing something that, once again, MLB players have long agreed is fine doesn’t do much for the league in terms of positive PR. Then again, neither does suspending a small fish while letting the big boys freely flaunt the rules.

Once again, we’re left asking why MLB seems to care so deeply all of a sudden. Is this just a veneer of action? Experts agree it will be quite difficult to prove the presence of a substance, and random ball checks and spin-rate doctors won’t provide enough hard evidence. Besides, most see this as a net positive.

Yes, many hitters prefer pitchers utilizing these sticky substances. Anything that improves the control of a fireball helps everyone on the field.

But don’t tell Rob Manfred, who might be attempting damage control from this winter’s wrongful termination lawsuit from Angels clubhouse attendant Bubba Harkins.

Harkins’ defense uncorked the list of names, from Cole’s embarrassing text to Justin Verlander’s similar reliance.

All in all, it seems extremely unlikely that Cole faces any consequences for using a product that helped level up his spotted fastball.

Don’t expect the Yankees’ AL East rival fans to understand the complexities of this situation all summer long, though. Any time your ace is connected to a cheating scandal of any kind, the backlash will be unpleasant.