No Matter How You Spin It

June 10, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole got a win last night, but he’s losing the week. Baseball’s next integrity checkpoint is here, and it’s about to get ugly.

Letter Rip!



No Matter How You Spin It

Photo: Sarah Stier / Getty Images

MLB Begins Crack-Down on Foreign Substances Used by Pitchers to Impact Spin Rates… And No One is Safe


The next MLB “cheating” controversy has arrived, and now it’s pitchers feeling the wrath. The league was ridiculed for the uptick in home-run-or-bust batting trends in the last few seasons, but 2021 has been the year of the pitcher. With four no-hitters and eye-popping pitching numbers — like Jacob deGrom’s 0.62 ERA through nine starts — the league is cracking down on foreign substances that have been used by pitchers for generations.


Last week, Twins 3B Josh Donaldson took a shot at Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole after his spin rate reduced dramatically in recent weeks following the MLB’s increased substance checks. Then Cole was asked directly if he ever used Spider Tack — a product that enhances ball grip and increases revolutions (spins). He paused for nearly eight seconds before responding:


“I don’t know how to quite answer that, to be honest. There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players.” — Gerrit Cole


Other pitchers like Trevor Bauer (Dodgers) — who criticized Cole for his spin rate increases when he played for the Houston Astros — has also seen his revolutions-per-pitch decrease in the last few weeks. But Cole is and always will be in the spotlight through this discussion after his fastball increased 400 RPMs (revolutions per minute) from 2017-2019.


The practice of pitchers using foreign substances may have been accepted throughout the sport’s history, but baseball is aware that its constant cheating scandals and issues with unfair advantages have tainted the game.


Fun Fact: The league-wide batting average this season is just .237 — tied for the lowest (1968) in 150 years of MLB history (since 1872).


Additional Storylines

NY Post: This Was Gerrit Cole’s Lowest Yankees Moment
MLB’s Enhanced Plans for Enhancement of Foreign Substance Rules Being Finalized With June Rollout Pending


Editor’s Note: The Yankees Hit 4 HRs to Back Cole Against the Twins in a 9-6 Win on Wednesday



The King of Clay Inches Closer

Photo: Name / Getty Images

(3) Rafael Nadal & (1) Novak Djokovic Set Up Semi-Final Showdown; (24) Coco Gauff Gets Eliminated


The King of Clay is well on his way to a 14th French Open crown in 17 years, but the next man standing in Rafael Nadal’s path is Novak Djokovic. Both players won their quarter-final matches in four sets to set up an epic clash in Friday’s semifinals. Nadal defeated Djokovic in three French Open finals, including a straight-set blowout in last year’s 2020 finale. He’s won four straight clay titles at Roland-Garros, and he’s shown little sign of slowing down this year. On the other side of the bracket, it’s (6) Alexander Zverev and (5) Stefanos Tsitsipas.


French Open Highlights (Quarterfinals)

M: (1) N. Djokovic def. (9) M. Berrettini (6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5)

M: (3) R. Nadal def. (10) D. Schwartzman (6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0)

W: (17) M. Sakkari def. (8) Iga Swiatek (6-4, 6-4)

W: B. Krejcikova def. (24) C. Gauff (7-6, 6-3)


Women’s Semifinals: Today

Men’s Semifinals: Friday


Additional Storylines

NY Times: It’s Nadal vs. Djokovic in the French Open, But One Round Too Early

USA Today: Coco Gauff’s Loss in French Open a Disappointment & Reminder Greatness Will Take Time



Let’s Play 3!

Photo: Shane Bevel / Getty Images

Oklahoma Evens the WCWS at 1-1 After Breaking Single-Season HR Record


The Women’s College World Series is going to Game 3! The 1-seed Oklahoma Sooners evened the best-of-3 series at one game apiece on Wednesday night with a 6-2 win over #10 Florida State. OU’s Jocelyn Alo hit the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning — her 31st of the season — to spark the Oklahoma comeback and keep hope alive for the program’s fifth national championship.


Sooners Send ‘Em

Alo’s homer gave Oklahoma the NCAA Division I single-season home run record with 159.


Game 3: Winner-Take-All

Oklahoma and Florida State will meet this afternoon for a winner-take-all Game 3 (3:00 pm ET, ESPN).


Watch: Oklahoma Beats FSU (6-2) to Force Winner-Take-All Game 3


Additional Storylines

NCAA: Jocelyn Alo Breaks OU Single-Season HR Record (Video)



Suns Stomp Nuggets for 2-0 Series Lead

Gm 2: Suns def. Nuggets (123-98)

A 25-point win without a 20-point scorer? The Phoenix Suns’ brand of team basketball has them eyeing the NBA Finals after another all-around effort in Game 2 on Wednesday. The Suns whooped the Nuggets as Chris Paul, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton all had double-doubles.  The newly crowned MVP in Denver, Nikola Jokic, had 24-13-6 but it wasn’t enough to avoid a 2-0 hole. PHX Leads Series (2-0)


Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 3: Nets at Bucks (7:30 pm ET)

BKN Leads Series (2-0)

Gm 2: Clippers at Jazz (10:00 pm ET)

UTA Leads Series (1-0)


Additional Storylines

NBA: Jazz Center Rudy Gobert Wins 3rd Defensive Player of the Year Award in 4 Years

CBS Sports: Chris Paul Helps Suns Dominate Nuggets in Game 2



Islanders Skate Past Bruins to Reach Semis

Gm 6: Islanders def. Bruins (6-2)

The Islanders and Bruins were tied 1-1 after the first period of Game 6 before Brock Nelson lit the lamp twice and sent the Islanders into celebration mode. The Islanders haven’t reached the Stanley Cup Finals since the 1980s when they won four straight (1980-83). Only the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning stand in their way. New York is the second 4-seed (lowest in division) to reach the semifinals, joining the Montreal Canadiens. NYI Wins Series (4-2)


Tonight’s Schedule

Gm 6: Avalanche at Golden Knights (9:00 pm ET)

VGK Leads Series (3-2)


Additional Storylines

NHL: Commissioner Gary Bettman Tours Islanders’ New Rink, Calls It ‘Breathtaking’

Denver Post: Another Year, Another Must-Win 2nd-Round Game 6 for Avalanche



⚾️ MLB: An Unlikely Hero in Philly

Welcome to the big leagues, Luke Williams! The Phillies youngster made his first start on Wednesday and hit his first career home run — one he’ll never forget. He smashed a 2-run walk-off blast over the left-field wall. The heroic moment came in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs on 0-1 pitch, and the Phillies beat the Braves (2-1).


⚽️ SOCCER: USMNT’s ‘B Team’ Beats Costa Rica

The future continues to look bright for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Just three days after an epic win against Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League final, a lineup consisting largely of backup squad players shut out Costa Rica (4-0) in a Wednesday night friendly. The USMNT is 6-1-1 in their last eight matches.



🏈 College Football Playoff Expansion is Coming

There’s no such thing as too much football, right? At least not according to the College Football Playoff committee, which could be on the verge of a monumental change to the sport’s playoff format. (FOX Sports)


⚽ How Euro 2020 Was Saved

Pulling off a tournament with games in 11 countries was always going to be difficult. Then the pandemic struck, and the job got even harder. Europe’s epic summer slate, after a 1-year delay, finally kicks off tomorrow. (NY Times, Paywall+)


🏀 Joel Embiid Has His Eyes on a Different Prize

Nikola Jokic took home MVP, but the Sixers center is angling for a bigger piece of hardware this postseason. More performances like his one against the Hawks in Game 2 just might get him there. (The Ringer)



Indiana Pacers Fire Head Coach Nate Bjorkgren After Just 1 Season

(Bleacher Report)


Packers WR Davante Adams Publicly Says He Has Aaron Rodgers’ Back in Green Bay Saga

(CBS Sports)


NFL Seeks City Partner to Host Games in Germany



LeBron James Switches Jersey Number Back to No. 6 for 2021-22 Season



Premier League’s Big Six to Split $31 Million Fine for Super League Split

(NBC Sports)


Mets’ Pete Alonso Says MLB ‘Manipulates the Ball’ Depending on Free Agency Classes

(USA Today)



Yesterday’s Results

75.6% of Sportsletter readers think the Mayweather-Paul fight was rigged. More proof that celebrity boxing will start to lose its pay-per-view buying power. Check back tomorrow for another loaded weekend preview.