IDIOT OF THE YEAR 2021: Party rolls on with Gerrit Cole, John Stockton, and Mark Davis

Gerrit Cole

Illustration: Getty Images

To some extent, this spot belongs to all Major League Baseball pitchers who tried defending their use of Spider Tack for grip. However, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole stands out from the crowd of cheating baseball players because he offered the worst defense/misdirection/non-answer we’ve heard yet on the matter.

When asked whether or not he ever used Spider Tack, Cole responded: “I don’t quite know how to answer that.” Well, it’s a pretty simple question. Did you or did you not use a substance, specifically Spider Tack, to increase your grip on the baseball, thus providing a greater spin rate? Cole basically says yes, without actually indicting himself. He and other sticky-stuff tricksters try to defend their methods by implying that pitchers have done this for generations, but that still doesn’t make it OK. Of course, this can be said about dozens of pitchers across Major League Baseball, not just Cole. Cole is simply the poster child of the Spider Tack sensation — a position he officially earned with this exchange — and his answer to a very simple yes-or-no question merely offers a peek into the mental gymnastics pitchers likely must experience in order to help themselves justify breaking the rules.

If pitchers truly believed it was alright to use a foreign substance to help them pitch, then why did they keep it a secret for so long? If it’s not a bad thing, why not just come clean about the whole situation? Cole and all the other Spider Tack users in baseball clearly knew they were in the wrong and not only continued to use those substances but even handed those secrets down, according to Cole, generation to generation in order to keep the cheating alive.

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