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Lacking Substance: Gerrit Cole Prefers His Balls Sticky For a Better Grip

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I’ll admit it, in the 48 hours since I started at Outkick, I’ve made a few anatomy jokes. But this is a high-brow site, and I’m a high-brow writer. You’re nuts if you think I’m going to settle in as the resident dick joke guy. It’s low-hanging fruit, and we all know it.

I want to be the total package for our readers, so that means occasionally digging in and doing some real reporting. So look, I don’t care how sweaty it makes us, we’re getting through this junk dead-of-summer MLB article together, without any inappropriate testicle references. Sports. Politics. Pop culture. These are the family jewels of OutKick and dammit, we’re going to respect them. Anything else is pure ballocks in my opinion.

Ok, on to the real meat and potatoes.

Star New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole recently spoke out against MLB’s new policy which punishes players caught using foreign substances on baseballs.

“It’s so hard to grip the ball, for Pete’s sake,” Cole said during a virtual press conference after his Thursday start. “We are aligned with the Commissioner’s office on this. Please just work with us.

“I would hate to see balls start flying at people’s heads.”

Cole was accused in May of using a sticky substance, and he responded with a vague reply. On Monday, a former Los Angeles Angels employee even released text messages between himself and the Yankee in which Cole explicitly asked for the substances.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Other MLB pitchers have also spoken up about the ban, citing injury concerns. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow believes “100%, without a doubt” that he suffered his recent elbow injury due to the ban.

It seems that there has always been some mystery about how balls are handled in Major League Baseball. Some years we believe they’re juiced for more exciting stats, and in others, like this year, they appear to be manipulated with pitcher-friendly substances that make hitters blush. There’s a long history of players leaning into the grey area of cheating to gain an advantage in what is arguably this country’s most difficult sport. But rarely does it come to light.

The fact that pitchers want their balls to feel just right is no surprise, but historically this type of behavior has primarily gone on behind closed doors. Occasionally an umpire will publicly examine a pitcher’s hat for Vaseline or a hitter’s bat for cork, but for the most part, baseball just prods along as if advantages never really exist.

So for Cole to come out publicly in such vocal favor of ball manipulation is surprising, and perhaps indicative of what MLB has quietly been allowing for generations.

Regardless, it took some real stones to come out in favor of rubbing his balls like he does. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a big sack of hate mail waiting on him when he gets home.

Written by TK Sanders

TK is a southerner who has lived on both coasts and definitely prefers sunshine to snow. A former entertainment executive in Los Angeles, he was run out of Hollywood for misgendering a director's dog, and is now forced to blog for a living. Breaking 80 will always be his number one goal in life.

Follow him on Twitter @outkicktommy.

4 Comments

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  1. If you want a better grip there’s a thing called a rosin bag they lay on the mound in every game. If you want it sticky watch Pedro Martinez demo how to make rosin sticky on his MLB network segment. You add a little sweat and grind rosin on your fingers to make it sticky. Use your brain pitchers.

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