Whether because of Josh Donaldson’s pointed barbs, his text message to an Angels clubhouse attendant which was made public, or simply his own success, Cole has become the popular choice to be grilled on MLB’s forthcoming rule changes (or are they already here?) meant to regulate doctoring the baseball.
Cheating is cheating, and the best way for Cole to move past this association is simply to continue to dominate following the implementation of any regulations, a path which he began successfully on Wednesday.
However, any fan who worked overtime to push a Yankee to the forefront here better be secure in their own fandom and willingness to die on an ill-conceived hill. Because you’re next.
Watch any broadcast on any given night and you’re sure to see a pitcher enter from the bullpen, rub his hat, lick his belt loops, wipe his hand on a teammates thigh, or some sort of chicanery with the same end result: he’s got goop.
Until this week, the first name that came to mind in this crusade was Trevor Bauer’s. After all, he’s somewhat different from the rest.
First, he raised suspicion about the Astros (specifically) using foreign substances. Then he took the moral high ground and claimed he’d love to try, but couldn’t stomach it.
Then came the final season before his free agency, when all of his spin rates jumped astronomically. Goodbye, morals. Hello, paycheck.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is probably among the 80% of pitchers using sticky stuff.
Again, Cole’s the face because of a supposed leaked text, but Bauer skates by as the hero because he “only did it to expose the people who were doing it”? Alright. Thousands of vlog hours to sift through here, but apparently one goofy text trumps all of that.
If Major League Baseball would like to agree that the behavior is out of bounds, then fantastic. That’s great news. They’d better be prepared to cascade across the game, though, scrubbing the gloves and cleats of basically every name, big and small, on an MLB roster.
Bauer’s made his position perfectly clear, giving sardonic answers about the Atlanta heat messing with his spin rates in a postgame interview that was almost as giggle-worthy as Cole’s show the other day. The same article that targeted the Yankees ace also named Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
Every day, a different fan believes they’re oh so clever by clipping a zoomed-in bit of footage proving that a certain pitcher with nasty stuff is dipping into the well. Spoiler alert: yeah! And prior to this week, they might’ve told you themselves.
I’m not going to get “holier than thou” here and claim that this is all no big deal, and that a generation of hitters should just move on. I’m going to instead lean on the expertise of the players, instead of the knee-jerk reaction of the internet mob.
If all parties come together and decide on a punishment, I’m all for that. If the baseball world convenes and decides all we need are slight restrictions, and the benefit to sticky stuff outweighs the cost, then that’s fantastic, too.
If the league decides this is a grand offense, though, it’s too late. Titles have already been won on the heels of these substance-heavy advancements. The 2017-era Astros were the pioneers, as Bauer himself admitted. The Dodgers produced a massive spin rate leap between 2020 and 2021.
Now, I guess, it’s also time to share my favorite clip of all time of David Price pitching in the 2018 World Series?
It’s here. It’s been here.
And if Gerrit Cole’s your only reference point for what’s been going on, you need to wipe the goo off your eyelids and open them.