The MLB All-Star rosters for 2023 feature a ridiculous amount of talent, so how exactly did Yankees ace Gerrit Cole work his way into a starting spot for tonight’s game?
Sports are usually all about fair competition, but sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to use certain tools at your disposal to gain an advantage. No, this isn’t about steroids. It’s about a seemingly trivial coach-player connection that may have helped Yankees ace Gerrit Cole earn a start in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game.
The New York Yankees star spent two years with the Houston Astros in 2018 and 2019, which was arguably one of the highest points of his career. In those two seasons, Cole owned a 2.68 ERA and was awarded back-to-back All-Star nods.
Astros manager and current All-Star Game American League manager Dusty Baker wasn’t in charge of Houston during Cole’s time there (Baker started in 2020), yet the Texas connection still runs deep.
If Cole wants to pitch in the All-Star game, he’s going to pitch. That’s the sentiment Baker shared ahead of Tuesday’s game in Seattle when he announced Cole would get the start.
Gerrit Cole gets the green light to start in All-Star Game
As one can imagine, Seattle Mariners fans are not happy.
Those buzzing fans likely wanted the start to go to hometown hero Luis Castillo since the game was being played on his turf in T-Mobile Park. Castillo and Cole own the exact same ERA this season (2.85) and go toe-to-toe in several statistical categories; given the slim differences, Mariners fans may have expected Baker to favor hometown advantage in a low-stakes showcase like the All-Star game.
Who doesn’t love a crowd favorite? Baker, apparently.
Baker instead followed his Houston roots to choose Cole as the AL starter, who’s set to make his sixth career All-Star appearance at first pitch at 8 p.m. E.T.
The NL starter will be Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen, a less controversial pick who has performed well for the first-place Diamondbacks this year.
Was Castillo snubbed? Maybe. But given the sheer amount of talent on the All-Star roster, any one of those pitchers could have feasibly gotten the start. It just came down to Baker’s preferences in the end, and he clearly couldn’t resist putting the spotlight on an ex-Astro.