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Wednesday, June 09, 2021

New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole on whether he ever used Spider Tack while pitching: ‘I don’t quite know how to answer that’

Amid a Major League Baseball crackdown on pitcher-friendly foreign substances, New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole struggled to give an answer when asked Tuesday whether he has ever used a particular sticky paste called Spider Tack while on the mound.

“I don’t [long pause] ... I don’t know ... I don’t quite know how to answer that, to be honest,” Cole said during his videoconference with reporters before the Yankees began a three-game series at Minnesota.

He then paused again before continuing, “There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players, and I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard.

“This is important to a lot of people who love the game, including the players in this room, including fans, including teams, so if MLB wants to legislate some more stuff, that’s a conversation that we can have. Because ultimately we should all be pulling in the same direction on this.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 09:53 AM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: foreign substances, gerrit cole

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   1. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:13 AM (#6023335)
Everyone knows that Clean Cole is a myth.
   2. jmurph Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:28 AM (#6023340)
Bravo, post #1.

It's baffling to me that he wasn't prepared to answer this? I mean hats off for his sort of honesty, I guess, but it seems like the guys involved in this should have seen these kinds of questions coming months ago.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:32 AM (#6023341)
I mean hats off for his sort of honesty,
Check that hat while it’s off.
   4. jmurph Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6023342)
Ha.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6023343)
So MLB has tacitly accepted players using illegal substances, because they're not categorically different from the illegal substances MLB winked at in the past when our storied heroes were using them, until they started to distort the game as it was played on the field, at which point we need to crack down with ferocity because "everybody" has begun using these substances? I think I've heard this story before.
   6. The Duke Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6023344)
Number 1 wins
   7. The Duke Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:51 AM (#6023346)
If asked “ are you a cheater?” , say no immediately. You shouldn’t need a PR person for that
   8. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 09, 2021 at 11:00 AM (#6023348)
We will see how this plays out in the weeks and months to come, but as #5 is implying, this may be the pitching equivalent of PED-gate for hitters a generation ago. I may be forgetting somebody, but I believe Clemens and Pettitte were the only major pitchers to be closely linked to PEDs - virtually all the big names (and likely many more smaller names) linked to PEDs were hitters.

At the time, I remember people speculating that pitchers were less likely to enjoy the direct, on-field benefit of being bigger and stronger, and that flexibility and pliability were more important for pitchers than muscle mass.

I don't know if that is true, but the end result was that the PED era was seen as benefitting hitters.

Today, all you hear about is pitchers throwing harder than ever, for smaller numbers of pitches per outing than ever - but that it is the ability to throw 90+ with wicked spin that has truly taken strikeouts to the next level. I have no idea how hitters make regular contact when a growing number of pitchers can throw breaking pitches well into the 90s MPH. The average number of K/9 is not far from Nolan Ryan's best K/9 rates - there has to be something going on.

And as for Cole saying "I don't quite know how to answer" a yes or no question about whether or not he's used a specific substance - Spider Tack - during a game: I mean, this is the definition of a yes or no question; there is no fuzzy area here. I think the s**t is about to hit the fan for a lot of pitchers in the coming weeks.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 11:18 AM (#6023353)
We will see how this plays out in the weeks and months to come, but as #5 is implying, this may be the pitching equivalent of PED-gate for hitters a generation ago.

Agreed. I wonder how it will ultimately play out, especially if pitcher K rates and batting averages revert to historical norms in the second half of the season.....

1) BBWAA decides en masse to keep Kershaw, Scherzer, Verlander, deGrom, etc out of the Hall
2) BBWAA looks at Bonds, Sosa, Palmeiro, McGwire (too late for him?), etc under a different light and starts to vote them in
3) Using the logical consistency they've long been noted for, BBWAA continues to vote in the dirty cheating pitchers while barring the dirty cheating hitters
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 09, 2021 at 11:31 AM (#6023357)
Strikeout rates have been going up for a while, right? Who was using, and who wasn't? Can you really tell? What pitcher will be the Rafael Palmeiro of pitchers - somebody whose numbers would suggest Hall of Famer...but won't even get a sniff of it because of cheating? That's the kind of stuff we may be forced to ask, if this goes the wrong way...
   11. KronicFatigue Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6023362)
Am I the only one who really likes his answer? The NY TV media was all aghast at his answer, but I fell asleep before they actually played the clip. In my opinion he's got 3 choices:

1) Lie: This would be an obvious lie and would continue to follow him as his spin rate declines and probably his other numbers decline as well. It would be raccoon vs rat 2.0. Something something "spun" tail.

2) Truth+: "Yeah I cheated." This goes too far, IMO, b/c I don't think it's cheating if everyone is doing it. But if he labels himself a cheater, then he's a cheater, and will never shake that.

3) Vague Truth: This is how he answered. We all know what he's saying (that he did it), and he gives an explanation as to why he did it without sounding defensive. Not only was everyone doing it, but it was taught to him from the older generation in a way that made it feel (rightly so) like it wasn't cheating. Because of this, he's personally not comfortable calling it cheating, but is now willing to move the goal posts with MLB since MLB seems to now want to do so.

I'm only reading the transcript, so maybe he comes off as insincere, but if I was his PR, this would be the kind of answer I'd shoot for.
   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6023366)
Not only was everyone doing it, but it was taught to him from the older generation in a way that made it feel (rightly so) like it wasn't cheating. Because of this, he's personally not comfortable calling it cheating, but is now willing to move the goal posts with MLB since MLB seems to now want to do so.


The cheater doesn't get to decide whether he's cheating or not.

I mean, this is obvious, blatant cheating. It's much more explicitly against the rules than steroids ever were.
   13. The Duke Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:08 PM (#6023367)
I’m an anti-PED guy and believe those who altered the game should pay the price. The trash can banging feels the same way to me. This “scandal” feels a lot different to me. It seems that everyone is doing it - it never seemed like that was true with the other two (and I know opinions vary on PEDs but after 20 years there are still only a handful of names we know about).

And there is a huge issue of matter of degree. Rosin, ok. Inadvertent sunscreen ok. Inadvertent rosin mixed with inadvertent sunscreen probably ok. Pine tar sometimes ok, other stuff ? We can go back to Kenny Rogers in the 2006 series for evidence that this has been going on for awhile. It seems like the last three years - new substances abound. Is it orchestrated ? Will we find the Yankees and astros in the middle of this again ?
   14. Booey Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:14 PM (#6023368)
PED's, sign stealing, ball doctoring... all the sudden (well, in the last 15-20 years, anyway) hysteria over cheating is hurting the game more than the actual cheating itself is, IMO. I haven't seen any evidence that leads me to believe modern players cheat more than previous generations did; modern fans just care about cheating a lot more now.

Personally, I wish MLB (and the BBWAA) would just be honest and admit that cheating always has and always will be a part of the game and move on.

Edit: I'm fine with punishing players who get caught breaking rules, but in a sport already starved for name recognition, turning many of the most famous players of the last 25 years into pariahs has been beyond counterproductive, IMO. Let them serve their suspension if what they did warranted it, and then get over it. Too many people forget that sports are just supposed to be entertainment to begin with.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:16 PM (#6023369)
We will see how this plays out in the weeks and months to come, but as #5 is implying, this may be the pitching equivalent of PED-gate for hitters a generation ago. I may be forgetting somebody, but I believe Clemens and Pettitte were the only major pitchers to be closely linked to PEDs.


Kevin Brown.
   16. Booey Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:19 PM (#6023371)
I know opinions vary on PEDs but after 20 years there are still only a handful of names we know about


No, there are only a handful of names we CARE about (the ones who put up HOF caliber numbers). There are lots of names we KNOW about. I think the Mitchell report listed 80 something players. That "anonymous" test in 2003 allegedly had over 100 failed tests.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:24 PM (#6023375)
Personally, I wish MLB (and the BBWAA) would just be honest and admit that cheating always has and always will be a part of the game and move on.


Should they just accept it, or should they crack down on it?
   18. Booey Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:28 PM (#6023377)
#17 - See my edit. Cracking down is fine. Never letting players live it down isn't.

(Though I suppose that's been more of an issue with fans, journalists, and the BBWAA than with MLB itself)
   19. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6023379)
PED's, sign stealing, ball doctoring... all the sudden (well, in the last 15-20 years, anyway) hysteria over cheating is hurting the game more than the actual cheating itself is, IMO. I haven't seen any evidence that leads me to believe modern players cheat more than previous generations did; modern fans just care about cheating a lot more now.


I think this specific case is hurting the game. Not exactly because it's "cheating" but because the increase in strikeouts and decline in batting averages is hurting the game and this is one of the things driving that.

It's not that modern players cheat "more" than earlier generations. It's that with modern technology, they cheat "better". With the advent of Statcast, we can see unambiguously that sticky stuff on the ball increases spin rate and increased spin rate increases strikeouts. And with modern technology, it's relatively easy to experiment with various types of sticky stuff and figure out which one works best. If we want to reduce strikeouts, reducing pitcher spin rates would go a long way. And reducing the use of sticky stuff would seem likely to help reduce pitcher spin rates.

The key here - just as with steroids - is changing the culture from one that doesn't seem to care about this stuff to one that sees this is cheating. And so far, that seems to be working out. It's early, but Cole's answer here seems to reflect the change in culture (as do the reduced spin rates in recent starts of, for example, Cole and Trevor Bauer).
   20. Booey Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:49 PM (#6023384)
#19 - Yeah, I understand and agree with all that. Strikeouts are out of control, so whatever they can do to reduce K's and increase batting averages is fine by me. I just don't want people (fans, sportswriters, and HOF voters mainly) to overreact to the pitchers who get caught and hand wave away their entire careers as being invalid, the way we've seen with the PED and sign stealing pariahs. That just makes the game less fun as a fan and more polarized, IMO. It's made talking about certain players akin to talking about politics or religion, rather than just the (mostly) good natured banter that sports talk should be. Cuz really, isn't talking about it afterwards one of the most appealing aspects of sports to begin with? I assume everyone here would agree, hence the existence of BBTF in the first place. The less subjects and/or players you have to walk on eggshells about, the better.
   21. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6023386)
I just don't want people (fans, sportswriters, and HOF voters mainly) to overreact to the pitchers who get caught and hand wave away their entire careers as being invalid


I agree. I would vote Barry Bonds into the Hall of Fame. And while I would not vote Gerrit Cole into the Hall of Fame if he retired tomorrow, that's because his career falls short so far. When he retires, I would certainly weight his 2017-2020 performance the same as his performance before and after in evaluating his career, treating all of his statistics from those seasons as equally real and valid (thinking about how to properly weight 2020 because of season length would be a much bigger issue).
   22. Moses Taylor hashes out the rumpus Posted: June 09, 2021 at 12:57 PM (#6023387)
3) Vague Truth: This is how he answered. We all know what he's saying (that he did it), and he gives an explanation as to why he did it without sounding defensive. Not only was everyone doing it, but it was taught to him from the older generation in a way that made it feel (rightly so) like it wasn't cheating. Because of this, he's personally not comfortable calling it cheating, but is now willing to move the goal posts with MLB since MLB seems to now want to do so.

I'm only reading the transcript, so maybe he comes off as insincere, but if I was his PR, this would be the kind of answer I'd shoot for.


The transcript absolutely does not do his answer the proper justice. He was full on deer in the headlights.
   23. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 09, 2021 at 01:03 PM (#6023390)
I think I'd have gone with: "What, me? No. Guys, come on. You know me. I had my first beer the day that I turned 21 and I carefully follow all posted speed limits."

If you want to keep doing it, maybe the thing to do is to push back against the narrative that it's not okay.

But, hey, that's probably why I don't work in PR.
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 09, 2021 at 01:10 PM (#6023391)
I just don't want people (fans, sportswriters, and HOF voters mainly) to overreact to the pitchers who get caught and hand wave away their entire careers as being invalid, the way we've seen with the PED and sign stealing pariahs.


I agree with this. You want to be decisive about this without being overly harsh. If I were MLB, this is what I would do:

1) Put out a statement "clarifying" that Spider Tack and similar substances are illegal for pitchers to use. This gives a little cover to players who want to complain that they assumed this was all kosher, since "everyone" was doing it.

2) Announce that you're giving umpires carte blanche to check the ball and the pitcher's uniform if they suspect anything untoward is going on. Umpires will love this, since they think much of their authority has been taken away by replay and Questec.

3) Establish a 25-game suspension for any pitcher caught with Spider Tack or a similar substance on his person during the course of a game. Second violation will cost you 81 games.
   25. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: June 09, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6023395)
3) Vague Truth: This is how he answered. We all know what he's saying (that he did it), and he gives an explanation as to why he did it without sounding defensive. Not only was everyone doing it, but it was taught to him from the older generation in a way that made it feel (rightly so) like it wasn't cheating. Because of this, he's personally not comfortable calling it cheating, but is now willing to move the goal posts with MLB since MLB seems to now want to do so.


"I'm doing the same things I and every teammate I've ever had has done. We want to grip the ball well so a 100 MPH fastball doesn't brain some poor bastard. I don't know if the name of the stuff we use is "spider tack" or what it is, but it's the same stuff that's in the resin bag on the mound."

The transcript absolutely does not do his answer the proper justice. He was full on deer in the headlights.


This was the amazing part of it. He looked SO stunned. It reminded me of Selig when Bonds hit 756. He looked stunned that something had happened that no one could have predicted rather than something had happened that the baseball world had been waiting years for.
   26. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 01:55 PM (#6023399)
Yeah, MLB seems to handle these sorts of things terribly from a PR perspective, at least based on the articles I've seen posted here. I don't watch ESPN so not sure how this is playing in more mainstream circles, and it hasn't been a bit topic on the SNY Mets broadcasts that I've watched, so maybe these articles are coloring how I view the broader reaction.

What MLB probably should have done is say something like, "We realize the rules have been unclear and inconsistently applied in the past, and that some players and teams have benefited more from this gray area than others, going back many years. We are now updating the rules to keep pace with technology, in order to improve the quality of the game and maintain a level playing field. Players and teams won't, and shouldn't be punished retroactively for violating these rules, but going forward we will rigorously and consistently enforce them." And they should have done it a year or two ago rather than letting things metastasize to this point.

I'm not saying that this would fix everything, but it's better than letting things get to the point where people view it as a big scandal and now any action either makes villains out of certain players or looks like a coverup. It would also have given players some cover to talk more openly about what was happening so you don't have these sorts of disingenuous moments from guys like Cole. People hate these kind of mealy-mouthed answers.
   27. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 02:21 PM (#6023403)
I'd be more interested in what Bauer has to say about all this.
   28. The Duke Posted: June 09, 2021 at 02:24 PM (#6023405)
In many ways it reminds me of candidates who can’t answer the question “why do you want this job?”. It’s the most important question and the one you have to know might be asked. Yet…..the answers or Deer in the headlights responses I have gotten over the years have amazed me.
   29. GregD Posted: June 09, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6023409)
He could have been better prepared. But I agree with Kronic in 11:

He had two horrible choices: Lie and launch a search party and endless stories, or say he cheated and launch an inquisition. Neither would work.

He needed to say, better than this, I used stuff that I was taught to use and I thought was within bounds, and if it's out of bounds I'll follow the rules when they're written.

But we also have to not act shocked, shocked, shocked by this. Are we going to kick Gaylord Perry out of the Hall? Don Sutton? There's a vague boundary between acceptable scuffing and unacceptable scuffing. The line got pushed too far. But the rules never reflected the practice of baseball, and suddenly smashing everyone who followed the unwritten customs but not the rulebook is like jailing everyone who's ever driven 56 in a 55.
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 02:33 PM (#6023410)
It’s the most important question and the one you have to know might be asked. Yet…..the answers or Deer in the headlights responses I have gotten over the years have amazed me.

I don't think it's the most important question, but yeah people who don't have an answer at the ready (or have a really bad one) strike me as not taking the interview that seriously. Likewise when I ask them if they have any questions for me at the end of the interview. If they don't have anything, or if it's completely irrelevant, that's a bit of a red flag.
   31. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 02:49 PM (#6023412)
Am I the only one who really likes his answer?


You're probably not the only one, but I hate it. Be honest. If it means Cole is labeled a cheater, then so be it. He cheated. He can feel free to add whatever context he'd like - "everyone was doing it," "MLB didn't crack down on it," "my pitching coach made me" - but own up to the truth. The answer he gave is patently absurd. It's a yes or no question that is easily answerable. Also, it's clear what the truth is because otherwise he would have said "no." Count me among those as not a big fan of "I don't know how to answer a yes or no question about whether or not I put a substance on my fingers."
   32. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: June 09, 2021 at 03:00 PM (#6023418)
3) Establish a 25-game suspension for any pitcher caught with Spider Tack or a similar substance on his person during the course of a game. Second violation will cost you 81 games.

I think this is where Ron J is supposed to show up, and tell us that establishing severe suspensions is really hard to do.
   33. Booey Posted: June 09, 2021 at 03:08 PM (#6023421)
#31 - More big stars being discredited and labeled cheaters can't possibly be good for MLB's PR image. If the league handles this badly, every dominant pitching season is going to be looked at with skepticism and suspicion, the same way that standout offensive seasons were after the Balco and Biogenesis scandals. A sport struggling so badly with marketing their stars can't keep cannibalizing them like this.

#26 and #29 make some good points. MLB should be clear that they're cracking down going forward, while also being equally clear that they're NOT condemning anyone who was using prior to the crackdown.
   34. The Duke Posted: June 09, 2021 at 03:12 PM (#6023424)
He’s got a 300 million contract. He can’t really come out and say, the only reason I got the contract is I used spider tack. But he can say rather authoritatively, I don’t cheat and I’ve never been suspected by the umpires of cheating. And then go on to the shared traditions of the game statement which struck me as being scripted. I’m looking at it again, I think he had a brain cramp as if he had memorized an answer to a slightly different question and couldn’t improvise.
   35. GregD Posted: June 09, 2021 at 03:21 PM (#6023429)
Whom should the mob come for first?

Whitey Ford?
Gaylord Perry?
Don Sutton?

surely we shouldn't be worried about any current pitchers until we tear down their Cooperstown plaques and fashion them into bronze Cs that will be hung around the necks of the living and over the graves of the dead. Then maybe we should do a witch hunt against current guys' past behavior.
   36. bfan Posted: June 09, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6023441)
Whom should the mob come for first?

Whitey Ford?
Gaylord Perry?
Don Sutton?

surely we shouldn't be worried about any current pitchers until we tear down their Cooperstown plaques and fashion them into bronze Cs that will be hung around the necks of the living and over the graves of the dead. Then maybe we should do a witch hunt against current guys' past behavior.


I feel like this has gone way off-track. People are focusing on these substances now because BA is at long time lows and much of it, rightly or wrongly, is attributed to spin rates climbing, which, rightly or wrongly, is attributed to the goo that pitchers are using. They are, I believe, trying to get some balance back in the game, so that nearly every team doesn't trot out 3 starters at .220 or below. If this doesn't work, I think they are going to mess with shift limitations or ultimately bump the mound back a foot or so, and I believe the lords of baseball hope this works.

No one is suggesting they go back into the past decades and punish pitchers or anything like that; shoot, even goo-master Gaylord Perry gave up some runs every now and then.
   37. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 04:19 PM (#6023443)
I'm fine with MLB pardoning guys who were using until now, if only because it will be impossible to prosecute all the offenders. But that doesn't mean Cole (or anyone else) should lie when asked a direct question. Tell the truth. "Yeah, I used Spider Tack. I was never questioned about it and I know many other pitchers who have used it. Pitchers have been using stuff like this for years and MLB has never done anything about it." I think that does a lot more to move the discussion forward quickly than his disingenuous equivocating.

Cole's vague response is going to decrease the media and fan outrage by 0%. It's being reported all over the place as to how widespread this is, and Cole is going to be at the forefront of the criticism regardless: he's one of the best pitchers in baseball, he pitched for the Astros, and his spin numbers increased significantly a few years ago. Strike three, he's out.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 09, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6023449)
I don't know if the name of the stuff we use is "spider tack" or what it is, but it's the same stuff that's in the resin bag on the mound.
The problem with that approach, is that isn’t true. If rosin were sufficient, pitchers wouldn’t be using the other stuff to get an even better grip.
   39. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: June 09, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6023450)
The problem with that approach, is that isn’t true. If rosin were sufficient, pitchers wouldn’t be using the other stuff to get an even better grip.


That's fine. "Oh it's not true? I was told it is. Hell guys, I'm just a dude who throws a baseball fast, if you want a scientist call those Big Bang Theory guys am I right?"
   40. JL72 Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6023451)
If it means Cole is labeled a cheater, then so be it. He cheated.


But did he? Everyone who watched baseball saw Kenny Rogers cheat this same way. And yet MLB did nothing. This has been a pretty open secret for a while now. And MLB did nothing.

It's not clear to me that breaking a rule that MLB has decided not to enforce is in fact cheating.
   41. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:05 PM (#6023452)
If the league handles this badly, every dominant pitching season is going to be looked at with skepticism and suspicion, the same way that standout offensive seasons were after the Balco and Biogenesis scandals. A sport struggling so badly with marketing their stars can't keep cannibalizing them like this.

It's such a uniquely MLB thing too. Deflate-gate didn't take any of the luster off Tom Brady's star.
   42. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:06 PM (#6023453)
That's fine. "Oh it's not true? I was told it is. Hell guys, I'm just a dude who throws a baseball fast, if you want a scientist call those Big Bang Theory guys am I right?"

People generally don't like being treated like they're stupid. Better not to comment than to tell an obvious lie, IMO. #37 is probably a better answer but like I said, if MLB wants people to be honest with the public about all of this, they need to give them the cover to do so. That might not look great for MLB and the teams, but it's better than the alternative where every good pitcher is assumed to be a "cheater".
   43. Ron J Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:14 PM (#6023454)
#36 I think this is seriously wrong thinking. Perry was gaining a greater advantage relative to the league -- since the number of people doing this was pretty small.

   44. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6023455)
Amazon page for Spider Tack. From the reviews, it seems to be good for lifting stones in strong man competitions.
   45. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:28 PM (#6023459)


#36 I think this is seriously wrong thinking. Perry was gaining a greater advantage relative to the league -- since the number of people doing this was pretty small.


What part of #36 is wrong?
   46. JL72 Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:33 PM (#6023460)
From one of the comments in the listing provided in #44:

Can confirm it increases spin rate 400-500rpm. My friend Gerrit told me.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: June 09, 2021 at 05:57 PM (#6023465)
C'mon, the correct answer is "I've never used a foreign substance. Strictly American-made boys!" get the laugh and move on. That and a dastardly mustache is all you need to get away with it.
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: June 09, 2021 at 06:08 PM (#6023469)
3 tweets, posted without comment


Max Goodman
@MaxTGoodman
·
17m
Josh Donaldson just spoke for several minutes about the usage of sticky stuff in MLB.

Asked if Gerrit Cole’s comments (or non-answer) yesterday was an indication of him using Spider Tack, Donaldson said “you’re going down the right path.”

“Time is going to tell what happens.”

Kristie Ackert
@ByKristieAckert
·
15m
Josh Donaldson said he used Gerrit Cole as an example because he was the first to pitch after the minor league suspensions and since there have been several others. #Yankees

Kristie Ackert
@ByKristieAckert
·
11m
Donaldson says he doesn’t know what to expect in terms of if Cole will retaliate on the field tonight #Yankees

(Seems very unlikely IMHO)
   49. Ron J Posted: June 09, 2021 at 06:14 PM (#6023470)
#45 It's dismissive of addressing the past. That's wrong-headed in my opinion. If it's problematic now, the few who were doing it were gaining greater advantage relative to their peers.
   50. Bret Sabermatrician Posted: June 09, 2021 at 06:14 PM (#6023471)
Can we just do what cricket does and use the same ball for 800 pitches?
   51. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 07:51 PM (#6023480)


#45 It's dismissive of addressing the past. That's wrong-headed in my opinion. If it's problematic now, the few who were doing it were gaining greater advantage relative to their peers.


A lot of people, including #36, are saying it's problematic now because of the overall effects on the game, not because some individual players might be benefiting more than others. The point isn't to punish individual pitchers for past transgressions, the point is to get a better product on the field going forward, and avoid other more drastic changes that might be necessary if they don't do something about the substances (or if doing something about them has no meaningful effect).

How would you propose addressing the past and what do you think that would accomplish?
   52. Ron J Posted: June 09, 2021 at 08:07 PM (#6023481)
#51 That's sloppy thinking. Doesn't mean they can't choose to enforce the rules on the books. But the moment anybody talks about phony hall of famers (and they will), then Perry and company have to go.

They have the ability to police the situation, have chosen not to and found to their shock that a group of absurdly competitive young men chose as a group to take advantage of the situation.

   53. Ron J Posted: June 09, 2021 at 08:17 PM (#6023482)
#32 Sorry. Missed that one. The CBA and past arbitration rulings limit what they can do. There's a clearly established precedent for how long a player can be suspended for altering a ball.

This is the part where they'd have to negotiate. I doubt it's necessary. 8-10 game suspensions are perfectly possible (8 more likely) and right now the pitchers aren't being subtle. If they're handing out suspensions on routine basis it'll be effective. Eventually.

I'm doubtful MLB really wants to go there though which is why they might actually negotiate something.
   54. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 09, 2021 at 08:42 PM (#6023488)
I don't know how you can "address the past" in a situation like this. How is anyone supposed to prove that Justin Verlander cheated in a game in 2018? Are there some balls being kept hermetically sealed under police protection from that game, just in case someone wants to check them in future years?

Taking action now, while people are learning about the situation, is what would curtail talk of any "phony hall of famers." One of the worst things about the steroid issue was how it dragged out for years, such that people complained players were cheating while they were in the middle of their record-setting achievements. That doesn't have to be the case here.
   55. Ron J Posted: June 09, 2021 at 08:59 PM (#6023490)
#54 My problem is the attitude that it's only cheating if it produces results I don't like.
   56. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 09, 2021 at 09:09 PM (#6023492)
The CBA and past arbitration rulings limit what they can do. There's a clearly established precedent for how long a player can be suspended for altering a ball.


Where in the CBA does it lay out what the suspension can be for altering a ball?

When the league suspended Nick Castellanos for taunting, there was no precedent or supporting provision in the CBA. It was purely made up and subsequently upheld.
   57. Ron J Posted: June 09, 2021 at 09:35 PM (#6023497)
#56 It doesn't. Doesn't need to. There's a great deal that isn't specifically spelled out in the CBA and it's not the case that the commissioner can do as he wants if it's not specifically spelled out in the CBA.

The limits of the commissioner's general ability to fine/suspend are clearly spelled out. And it's pretty low. Anything beyond that brings up an arbitration situation and those are governed by precedent. 8 games has been the norm for altering balls. You might sustain 10. Beyond that, forget it.
   58. Ron J Posted: June 09, 2021 at 09:40 PM (#6023499)
Also, missed the part on Castellanos. You're right. No precedent. No idea why you think that means anything to do with situations where there is a precedent.

What it means now is that there's a now general range of discipline possible for taunting. Want to go beyond that? Possible but unlikely. Arbitrators like precedents.
   59. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 09, 2021 at 10:02 PM (#6023502)
#51 That's sloppy thinking. Doesn't mean they can't choose to enforce the rules on the books. But the moment anybody talks about phony hall of famers (and they will), then Perry and company have to go.

They have the ability to police the situation, have chosen not to and found to their shock that a group of absurdly competitive young men chose as a group to take advantage of the situation.


I just don't understand this attitude. I mean, sure, if people start to argue that some current pitcher shouldn't be in the HOF because he cheated before MLB started enforcing the rules, then that person should support the removal of Perry etc. I don't see why their faulty logic has to be binding on the rest of us.

As you noted, MLB had the ability to police the situation, and didn't. I don't think anyone should be kept out of the HOF for their actions under those circumstances, unless we learn of more egregious behavior (i.e. intimidating teammates who wanted to come forward about the behavior, or something like that).

If MLB makes a clear statement and starts enforcing it and guys get caught, that might be a different conversation.
   60. Hank Gillette Posted: June 09, 2021 at 11:52 PM (#6023514)
How much increase in spin rate does Spider Tack (or other sticky items) give? Travis Sawchek ran some experiments. The results are impressive.
   61. Snowboy Posted: June 10, 2021 at 02:19 AM (#6023524)
[25] Jose, on what Cole should have said "I'm doing the same things I and every teammate I've ever had has done. We want to grip the ball well so a 100 MPH fastball doesn't brain some poor bastard. I don't know if the name of the stuff we use is "spider tack" or what it is, but it's the same stuff that's in the resin bag on the mound."

{Emphasis added}
That would have been one of the greatest Freudian slips of all time.

   62. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 10, 2021 at 06:46 AM (#6023532)
No idea why you think that means anything to do with situations where there is a precedent.


My point is that precedent in baseball suspensions is not nearly as important as you think. Arbitrators may look at precedents if a suspension is on appeal, but it is nothing like a court being bound by the decisions of a higher court.
   63. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 10, 2021 at 07:04 AM (#6023534)
"I don’t quite know how to answer that"


"Yes" or "no" would work just fine, Gerrit.
   64. TJ Posted: June 10, 2021 at 05:03 PM (#6023630)
I don't care if pitchers put Spider Tack, sunscreen, mule semen or Flubber on the ball. It's hard for me to listen to hitters complain when they still swing from their heels with two strikes in an effort to crank one over the fence when the opposition is leaving half of the field unguarded. When those hitters start taking pitches the other way for easy singles with two strikes on them, then I'll care about their beefing about Spider Tack...
   65. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 10, 2021 at 07:34 PM (#6023655)
The article linked in #60 is well worth a read (although unnecessarily long). If the effects are as dramatic as indicated, it somewhat explains MLB’s sudden urgency in getting a handle on the situation.

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