In the second year of his $324 million-dollar contract with the New York Yankees, pitcher Gerrit Cole faced criticism earlier in the week for an ambiguous answer to whether or not he uses foreign substances to improve his grip, spin rate and control of the ball.
Cole issued the following response in a presser when asked if he’s ever used Spider Tack, which is one of those substances the MLB is looking into:
Spider Tack is a sticky paste that can exponentially increase the spin on pitches, and products like it are not approved for use in the game of baseball. At this moment, there does not appear to be a regulated substance all pitchers may use.
The history of pitchers applying products like Spider Tack to improve their performance on the mound is well documented.
Observe how this particular baseball stuck to the equipment of the catcher:
Criticism of Cole’s response has not only come from the outside and members of the media but internally as well. Contemporaries around the league, including Twins’ third baseman Josh Donaldson chimed in on the matter:
Since it was made known that the MLB would begin to check baseballs, Cole had his worst performance of the season. He let up five runs in a 9-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
And let’s just say Donaldson’s opinion on the back of that outing by Cole did not go over well.
In fact, Michael Kay, who serves as the television play-by-play voice of the Yankees and host of the Michael Kay Show on 98.7 FM ESPN New York, said on his radio show that Cole should retaliate against Donaldson in the next game between their two teams:
In last night’s matchup, a 9-6 road win for the Yankees over the Twins, Cole got the last laugh. Donaldson struck out twice in his only two appearances versus New York’s ace pitcher:
Cole would not acknowledge whether or not Donaldson’s chirp fueled his dominant performance from the mound. The Yankee star finished the game with nine strikeouts and the highest average fastball velocity of his career in any start.