The 31-29 New York Yankees trotted out their fifth starter, a fill-in, and Domingo German to the mound for each game over the weekend and found themselves predictably swept by the Red Sox, who parlayed a few clutch hits into back-breaking victories.
In essence, too much has gone wrong lately for this team to be distracted by conspiracy theories and accusations.
Unfortunately, Major League Baseball thinks otherwise. The league has chosen to subtly police the use of illegal substances by pitchers, which appears to be pervasive and as “necessary for survival” as steroids seemed to be in the mid-1990s.
Per an offseason “exposé,” Gerrit Cole is among the big leaguers who uses such substances, which was an “open secret” in the same way that some people might not know the base paths are 90 feet long. Max Scherzer uses the stuff. So does Justin Verlander. So does your favorite pitcher.
With Cole and Trevor Bauer’s spin rate drops dominating the headlines on a snooze-worthy weekend for the Bombers, though, Minnesota’s Josh Donaldson decided to re-up the accusations towards New York’s ace ahead of their mid-week clash.
Cole responded to the latest chatter on Tuesday, dismissing it as “low-hanging fruit” before diving back into the more important elements of his job.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole doesn’t care about Josh Donaldson’s cheating allegations.
Donaldson did not mince his recent words, stating:
"“Is it coincidence that Gerrit Cole’s spin rate numbers went down (Thursday) after four minor leaguers got suspended for 10 games?” Donaldson said. “Is that possible? I don’t know. Maybe. At the same time, with this situation, they’ve let guys do it.”"
Somehow, Cole has become one of the league’s martyrs for what appears to be an extremely common practice. The reason MLB is looking to hurriedly eradicate the use of these substances isn’t because Cole might be using; it’s because everyone is.
What does causing a midseason stir about a long-standing wink-wink tradition really do for the game? In a way, it’s MLB protecting the Astros again; Cole’s Houston staffs innovated the form and got rewarded with a ring and an additional AL title, which we know will never be taken away. Now the rest of baseball has to get punished?
All this being said, Cole’s response to the direct question of whether he’s ever used “spider tack” is objectively hilarious.
He has. They all have. This is so boring.
Cole’s declining spin rate will now balloon into another annoying cloud over this cursed 2021 season, even though his fastball seemed plenty effective with the lowered rate in his most recent start.
We’d love for this to be Cole’s final response to these allegations, after he and Bauer were clearly given a “heads up” by the league just in time for advancing penalties. We’re sure it won’t be, though.