Yankees manager Aaron Boone on sticky substance crackdown: 'We're better as a sport'

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Aaron Boone from behind speaking with home plate umpire in Bronx
Aaron Boone from behind speaking with home plate umpire in Bronx

Monday marked the official start of the crackdown on sticky substances pitchers use. With Tuesday’s full slate of games, there was more controversy, confusion, and oddities hardly ever seen on a baseball diamond.

Watching Max Scherzer and Sergio Romo strip was awkward for everyone involved – even Gerrit Cole said he felt a bit uncomfortable while he was searched by umpires on Tuesday.

But Aaron Boone said that's the trials of a new rule implemented midseason.

“I think the early days of the awkwardness of it all, it’s obviously a tough spot for umpires to be in, tough spot for pitchers to be in, coming in when you’re competing at the highest level and you’re trying to have an edge, and all of a sudden, you’re getting searched in a weird kind of way,” said Boone. “I think that’s all gonna take a little bit of getting used to for everyone. But all in all, it’s off to a decent start and we get to a place to where we’re better as a sport for it.”

Boone said he has not had any meetings with his players about MLB’s procedures since yesterday’s game, but the league’s message seems to be getting across to some players.

“I have an understanding of how it’s gonna work and when they’re gonna check you and what they’re looking for and stuff. I think it’ll just be smooth and easy, and I’m happy it’s kind of just going on now, and hopefully in a couple of weeks, it just becomes first nature and we don’t even notice it anymore,” Jameson Taillon, Thursday’s starter, said to reporters on Wednesday.

Aside from Tuesday, the Yankees have seen an uptick in their offensive numbers. Boone said it’s “certainly possible” that less sticky stuff could be a factor, but that’s not the lone reason.

“There’s also ebbs and flows throughout the course of the year,” said Boone. “Offense and pitching, obviously as the summer months get here, that usually leads to an uptick in offense, so that’s probably gonna be part of it. So how you parse that will be one of the challenges moving forward.”