Gerrit Cole getting caught cheating helps MLB protect players health and hitters by preventing Gerrit Cole from having unfair advantages against them with his sticky substance
Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre spoke with media recently regarding Gerrit Cole’s usage of sticky substance. This comes after an analysis of Gerrit Cole video showed that he was consistently using a sticky substance during his windup.
Torre says this should be against the rules because it can make pitches harder to hit. He also went on to say it could pose health risks for pitchers if too much of the substance can get onto their skin or other players in contact with them (source).
It appears Gerrit Cole has been under investigation since last season when pitching coach, Ray Searage noticed Gerrit Cole’s pitches seemed to be harder (source).
“Mr. Torre has the power to fine any player who is found using substances on the baseball without permission, according to section 3.01(c)(3) of the Major League Baseball rule book. The maximum fine for a first offense is $5,000 and further offenses can result in suspensions.
“It makes it difficult for hitters if you’re doing something with the baseball that shouldn’t be done with balls that are for game play,” Torre said at last month’s general managers meetings in Carlsbad, Calif.. “There are some concerns that guys could possibly get hurt.”
“I think the thing is, you don’t want everybody doing it. You have to have some control over it, or otherwise everyone will start doing something with whatever they have in their possession at any time. So I’m not sure how this will go about.”.
According to the analysis, Gerrit Cole also appears to be putting something on his belt. Speculation is that it could either be pine tar or more of his sticky substance. Some reports indicate that if this is the case he will most likely face a full season suspension for his actions.
“I think one thing, as Joe mentioned, that people don’t realize with all the pace of game stuff and trying to quicken things up, there’s always pressure on umpires to get games over with,” said Torre. “There are times when they look at some minute detail in what you’re doing because they want to get on with it.”
Torre also says MLB doesn’t want to stop pitchers from having fun, but if their game play is harming hitters he believes it should be stopped.
“I think the umpires will have some leeway. I don’t think they’ll just be stuck on every pitcher has got something in his hand or on his person and so forth. I’m sure there’ll be some common sense with that as well,” he said. “I always felt there’s a way you can enjoy yourself doing things within the rules of the game that are legal. … It’s just not sitting well with me that guys feel like they need to do this.”
“I’m OK with a substance as long as it doesn’t extend out of the ball or change the flight of the ball,” Torre said.
However, when Cole got caught using a sticky substance he issued an apology and blamed his “sloppy mechanics. He also took full responsibility for what happened and apologized to everyone involved in the situation.
“I apologize to the fans, my teammates and to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. I accept full responsibility for what happened,” Cole said in a prepared statement. “It was a bad decision on my part. It was something I should have done in the privacy of the clubhouse and not made public. I look forward to putting this behind me and rejoining my teammates.
“We will deal with this matter internally.” Torre says he knows Gerrit Cole is sorry he got caught using it but hopes that offenses like these doesn’t lead to every player wanting to do something like this.
Torre also added that MLB didn’t want players using substances like this, even though others used it discreetly. “I think with all the information that’s come out with what people are trying to do, not only pitchers but hitters as well, it’s gotten to be ridiculous,” Torre said. “I’m glad Joe is taking a real strong position on it because I really believe the game has gotten to where you have to treat everybody in uniform in an equal manner.”
Gerrit Cole was selected 28th overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft. He made his MLB debut for them August 2011 when they played against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
So what does this mean for Gerrit Cole? Well, although he hasn’t been suspended yet there are talks that he could be facing a full season suspension. The MLB’s rules state that no foreign substance is allowed on the pitcher, however this is different for hitters. Here are several hitting rule book items: Batters are permitted to use resin bags provided by the home team’s batboy to protect their hands against unwanted moisture.
Resin may also be applied only two hours before game time or at any time when raining or wet, but not in batting practice (Kangaroo Court). If it is raining, players cannot put resin on their bats until they go into either dugout. This doesn’t apply to aluminum bats due to the moisture causing them to rust.