Cole feels connection wearing Jackie's No. 42

Cole feels connection wearing Jackie's No. 42

CINCINNATI -- Losing Tuesday night made Gerrit Cole feel bad.

Losing on Jackie Robinson's Day and in his No. 42 made Cole feel inconsolable.

"That's quite disappointing, even more so than us losing the game. It's just a little extra downer. I wanted to represent him a little better," Cole said quietly in the Pirates' clubhouse following their 7-5 loss to the Reds in Great American Ball Park. "What he did for baseball ... you can't say enough about that."

The emotional wave Cole surfed Tuesday night was whipped up by more than just the groundbreaking heroism for which Robinson is celebrated.

The young pitcher also embraces the fact he and Robinson are connected through UCLA. In addition to the No. 42 on his back, Cole had "UCLA 42" on the band of his cap.

"Absolutely," Cole said, proudly. "You know that everyone who has gone to that school recognizes him as the quintessential Bruin, outside of maybe John Wooden. So I think this is a special day for everybody, and for everyone who has gone to UCLA it is an extra special day. Just ask guys around the league [who came out of UCLA], like Chase [Utley] and Brandon [Crawford].

"Getting to pitch in that uniform was cool. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to deliver."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.