Gerrit Cole is already acting angsty and the regular season is still weeks away.
When the New York Yankees signed Gerrit Cole this offseason, they got his attitude, too. Cole signed a massive $324 million deal in Dec., filling a huge hole for a Yankees team that lacked a legitimate ace in the 2019 postseason, despite the best efforts of James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka.
Cole took his game to another level in his two-season stint with the Houston Astros, and finished second in AL Cy Young voting, going 20-5 record paired with a 2.50 ERA. After sitting out three months thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cole is just as grumpy as the rest of us, and looked as much in the Yankees intrasquad matchup on Tuesday.
Gerrit Cole was angry after being forced to trade out baseballs in the Yankees intrasquad game.
Cole struck out teammate Mike Tauchman, and after the ball went around the horn, he tried to keep it for the next batter. The Yankees staff, and game umpire, weren’t having it, and forced the 29-year-old to use a new baseball, much to his chagrin.
Cole’s reaction wasn’t favorable, but such policies are something MLB players are going to have to get used to. Baseball is arguably America’s dirtiest sport, in that players frequently lick their fingers and spit, all of which makes contact with the ball at one point or another. It’s unsanitary to begin with, and to ask players to suddenly change their in-game habits is a tall task, even if they mean well.
The Yankees hurler surely didn’t mean anything by his immediate reaction, but it speaks to a far greater problem as MLB implements a 60-game season — it’s not that players cannot accept change, it’s that their habits are so ingrained in their heads that suddenly changing course isn’t easy. And as we’ve seen in this pandemic, one slip-up can ruin everything.